Fittingly, during a week where it’s “so hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk,” momentum seems to be gathering for a petition asking the City of St. Michael to reconsider its position on urban chickens?
“Wait, what?” you ask. Or, maybe you don’t, since stores as close by as Runnings in Monticello are selling chicken coops and the little feathered friends right there in the store for future backyard farmers.
The petition for change can be found here, online. For the past three months it hasn’t had much traction, but some have said they’re going to ask the St. Michael (and Albertville, for that matter) Planning Commission and City Council to reconsider their collective stance against chicken coops in town.
Before you cry “fowl,” (I’m sorry, these puns are going to write themselves, really), think about what you’re asking.
“Well, I don’t want to be woken up at 5 a.m. sunrise by my neighbor’s backyard chicken,” you might say.
Well, don’t worry. Most ordinances already on the books – including those in Otsego and Minneapolis, for example – do not allow roosters. Only hens. And the most you’ll hear out of a hen is a startled cluck when your neighbor’s reaching in for the four eggs needed for his morning omelet.
“What about the smell from the chicken poo? Won’t that get bad?”
In a perfect world, this would be something neighborhoods could work out together. Suburban developments such as The Preserve and The Highlands, which are more centrally located within St. Michael, might not be ideal for coops. Those developments could write rules into their association bylaws, and the city leaders could, hypothetically, let those bylaws stand with their action. Meadow Ponds, meanwhile, which is on the edge of town, might be more open to said coops. Cluck away, my feathered friends.
Less government, right?
But, since a consensus on such an issue is sometimes hard to reach, the city has taken its stance that no neighborhood should be allowed coops. They’re banned. Want chickens? Live out in the country.
Again, that’s an easy argument. Minneapolis has urban chickens because you can’t drive 10 minutes to a farm to by fresh eggs, and there are 10,000 people every Saturday at the Farmers’ Market. Here, you can hit a farm or five between Albertville and Monticello, and nearby Otsego, as mentioned, allows the feathered friends. For five bucks, you can get your eggs, and not deal with the rest.
With an emphasis growing behind locally grown and naturally raised food – people wanting to KNOW where their food comes from – it’s fair to ask leaders to revisit the subject. There’s an education value, too, for kids and adults alike.
If birds of a feather want to stick together and bring this before city government, I’m all for it. After all, a bird in the hand is … OK, I’ll stop now.
I’m going to go grab a fried egg sandwich.