Council to consider chicken ordinance

NEW ULM – The New Ulm City Council will hold the final reading today of an ordinance amendment that would allow chickens to be kept inside city limits.

The first reading was conducted during the last City Council, in which Council members had an opportunity to address any problems in the ordinance as written prior to approval. Since the first reading of the ordinance amendment it was clarified that chicken permits may only be issued if all the owners of adjoining properties 50 feet from the lot line of the property sign off on the application form.

City Manager Brian Gramentz also suggested the ordinance be reworded to specify that a person owning multiple lots not be allowed to exceed the four chicken limit.

Councilor Ken RockVam had other concerns on the spread of diseased caused by chicken manure used as fertilizer. RockVam felt the ordinance as written did was not sufficient. Gramentz suggested the fertilizer needed to be incorporated in the ground instead of surface applied.

Other regulations in the ordinance limit a permit holder to four chicken, none of which can be roosters. Only one permit will be allowed per lot. If a person wishes to keep chickens at multiple lots, a different permit will be required for each lot. Permits are non-transferable and do not run with the property. The slaughtering of chickens will not be allowed within the city. A site plan and coop design are to be included with the permit application.

Following the reading the council is expected to make a final motion to accept the ordinance amendment. Since first introduced at the beginning of the summer, the chicken ordinance has remained controversial on the Council. The initial motion to approved passed by a three-two vote with Council President Charles Schmitz and Councilor RockVam.

City Attorney Hugh Nierengarten commented at the previous City Council meeting that the saving grace of the ordinance is that it expires after two years unless the Council approved its continuation.

“It’s going to have to come back before you and get tweaked somehow,” he said.

Property Annexation and Re-zonning

Last Thursday the City Planning Commission agreed to recommend a petition on behalf of the Arndt Family Trust to zone a property to be annexed by New Ulm as a General Industrial (I-2) District. The request will now come before the City Council at today’s meeting.

The property is located south and west of County State Aid Highway 29/North Garden Street and northwest of North Highland Avenue, which is part of the Milford Township. The Arndt Family Trust is requesting the re-zoning of the property to allow its sale to the August Schell Brewing Company. The Schell Brewing Company intends to build a small warehouse complex on the site. The plan is to break ground in October. The site might also be used for production of a sour beer.

In addition to the re-zoning petition the Council will decide on whether to move ahead with the annexation of the property at 16203 County Road 29.

In Other Business

A Simple Lot Division of a property at 1104 North Garden will also be discussed by the Council. This division would create two new parcels that would not qualify as buildable lots. As a result, both parcels will need to be combined with two parcels in an adjoining lot. This would change the orientation of the lots with the front shifted from Garden Street to 11th North Street. The request was recommend by the Planning Commission.

Later the Council will vote on a plat approval in the Wech’s Fourth Addition at 1320 Oak Street. The property is undeveloped and consists of wooded hillside. The current owner of the property intends to sell it to a different owner, but a new plat was required before the sale.

A resolution approving a Development Agreement with Skyline Terrace will be considered.

The agreement would create a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District at 2017 North Highland Avenue. This proposed TIF District would involve the construction of a 42 unit rental apartment building.

During the previous City Council meeting the Councilors agreed seek Request for Proposals to lease out the City Hall Parking Lot sign formerly leased to the Marktplatz Mall. The formal RFP document will be presented during tonight’s meeting before submittal.

The Council will consider a motion to authorize the City Manager and Fire Chief to proceed with the process of acquiring a new aerial ladder truck for the Fire Department. This new ladder truck would replace the current 1992 Seagrave Aerial Ladder Truck. The fire truck replacement fund will have $977,779 designated after the 2015 appropriation and should adequately cover the cost of the new truck.

An Airport Engineering Service contract with Mead and Hunt Professional services will come before the Council. The contract is for planning related to the relocation of the existing crosswind runway. The amount of this contract is $117,886 and is contingent on the availability of Federal and/or State Funds.

The final assessment rolls for 2013 Utility, Street and Alley Improvements will be announced, in addition a Public Hearing will be scheduled for residents to provide comments.

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