Fenton Councilman Asks for Answer to Chicken Question
Les Bland is encouraging residents to come to Monday's council meeting and weigh in with their thoughts on the issue.
After seven months, it's time for Fenton to make a decision on whether to allow chicken keeping in the city, Councilman Les Bland said at Monday's worksession.
"It's making us look like idiots," Bland said. "I get comments on it every day. ... We need to give them an answer."
The issue went to the Fenton Planning Commission, which decided to let it die without tabling it or voting on it, said Councilman Ben Smith. Smith represents the council on the planning commission.
Smith said he'll vote against an ordinance allowing chicken keeping, whether it allows one chicken or 20.
"My feeling is, chickens don't belong in a city," he said.
Since the planning commission didn't look at the issue and do their jobs, it's up to council, Bland said.
Mayor Pro Tem Cheryl King agreed that the final say in the matter is with city council.
Councilman Brad Jacob said he's had a lot of people tell him they want an ordinance allowing chicken keeping in Fenton. Only two people have told him they don't want one.
Resident Cherie Smith said she attended the planning commission meeting when the commission discussed the chicken issue. Planning commissioners discussed it for about 25 minutes, and their concerns centered on how to enforce conditions of the ordinance if it were approved.
Once people get chickens, if their property isn't inspected annually, three chickens could become 10, Smith said. And the commission had questions on how to pay for manpower to enforce the ordinance.
"They had lots of questions," she said.
These were questions that the city attorney could have answered, Smith added.
Councilwoman Pat Lockwood said the city attorney can craft an ordinance for council to consider. If council agrees, the ordinance on chicken keeping can move forward.
The issue isn't scheduled to appear on Monday's city council meeting agenda, said City Manager Lynn Markland.
Monday's council meeting is at 7:30 p.m., at Fenton City Hall.
Bland said the issue has gone on long enough, and residents should attend the meetings and let officials know what they think -- whether they're for or against a chicken keeping ordinance.