NB council sends chicken ordinance back to planning commission

The North Branch Planning Commission recently made it clear it doesn’t want residents with less than five acres of land to raise chickens on their properties, but the commission will have to reconsider its recommendation after a recent decision by the North Branch City Council.

At the Oct. 15 planning commission meeting, commission members voted 5-0 to deny a request by resident Amanda Bourgoin to raise chickens on her property, which is less than five acres.

The planning commission is an advisory body, and any recommendations it makes only go into effect if they are approved by the city council at a following meeting.

The city’s GIS Specialist, Nate Sondrol, said Bourgoin told the planning commission the chickens were her son’s pets, and they were “no different than a dog.”

He then went on to explain at the Nov. 12 city council meeting that current city ordinance does not allow residents to own chickens on a less-than-five-acre lot.

Mayor Amy Oehlers and council member Kathy Blomquist wanted to accept the planning commission’s recommendation on the proposed ordinance modification.

“I think we have enough information as a council to make a decision on this without sending it back to the planning commission and delaying things again,” Oehlers said. Lindquist said he was under the impression the planning commission didn’t approve of the ordinance change because the language used in the rewritten version was less than clear.

“One planning commission member said he was confused,” Sondrol said. “The ordinance could have been a little clearer in the memo.”

After hearing Sondrol’s comment, the council voted 3-2 to send the possible ordinance modification back to the planning commission for further review.

Council members Lindquist, Theresa Furman and Joel McPherson voted in approval of sending it back.

Oehlers and Blomquist cast opposing votes.

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