Chicken issue comes home to roost in FarmingtonChickens may be allowed on residential lots after all, thanks to the efforts of a group of teenage 4Hers. At the very least, the teens have convinced the Farmington City Council to take another look at an ordinance originally proposed in 2011.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Chickens may be allowed on residential lots after all, thanks to the efforts of a group of teenage 4Hers. At the very least, the teens have convinced the Farmington City Council to take another look at an ordinance originally proposed in 2011.
The chicken ordinance, as it was commonly called then, would allow Farmington residents to keep chickens in coops on residential properties of 10,000 square feet or more within city limits. The proposal didn’t pass in 2011, but Lerew Kaas, 14, Stefan Randow, 12, Annabelle Randow, 14, and Mya Tsukino, 13, hope to change that in 2013.
The whole push actually started about a year ago, when Kaas decided he wanted to show chickens at the Dakota County Fair. He couldn’t raise his own chickens because the city of Farmington didn’t allow the fowl in residential areas.
Kaas got it in his head he’d like to change that. He spent several months calling around to other cities to find out what their policies were, researching the pros and cons of raising chickens and more, then contacted Farmington City Hall. He asked to be placed on the council agenda so he could ask them to reconsider.
Around the same time, a few of Kaas’ 4H friends were having a similar conversation about raising chickens. Siblings Annabelle and Stefan Randow had heard about the 2011 push for the chicken ordinance, and decided they were interested in raising chickens, too.
“I’m a ‘Go Earth’ kind of person,” Annabelle Randow explained, “so this is something I wanted to do.”
The teens are in different schools – Annabelle Randow is a student at Farmington High School, Tsukino and Stefan Randow are enrolled at Boeckman Middle School, and Kaas is a student at Dodge Middle School – but they were able to come together to approach the Farmington City Council.
At Monday’s meeting, the four took their turns at the podium, addressing council members. Tsukino brought a PowerPoint presentation, while the others shared facts they had learned while doing their research. A few of their friends and family tagged along, bringing signs to support the cause.
Impressed by the students’ initiative, council members agreed to send the matter back to the Farmington Planning Commission for consideration.
Council member Terry Donnelly, who voted against the ordinance in 2011, admitted he “wasn’t a fan” of the proposal two years ago, but said the students convinced him to reconsider.
“You’ve changed my mind,” Donnelly said.
For their part, the students are committed to seeing the process through from beginning to end. Kaas said he’s learning quite a bit about how government works.
“It’s fun learning how government works,” Kaas said.
The students will have to attend at least one planning commission meeting. If an ordinance is forwarded to council for future consideration, they’re prepared to go to that meeting, too.
“If nobody brings me, I’ll walk here myself,” Stefan Randow said.
The planning commission will hold a public hearing on the proposal at its March 12 meeting. That meeting begins at 7 p.m.