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Troy prepares for development, wonders about chickens

The Troy Town Board held a long business meeting Thursday, Feb. 9, with an agenda spanning topics from the hiring of lawyers to a backyard chicken dispute.

Before the board meeting, Zoning Administrator Wendy Sander presented information about what control the board and community could have over the aesthetics and utilities of potential developments in the town since Troy took over its own zoning a few years ago.

“If a developer comes in, we have to set standards for how we want things to look, this and that,” said Town Board Chairman Dan Pearson. “We thought that we should have a get-together and talk about what those requirements might look like.

“So it was an introductory meeting, and we’ll be continuing those discussions over some time.”

It was decided that the board and zoning administrator would review the policies of places like Woodbury and Hudson to start formulating ideas.

State of schools

A special guest at the meeting was River Falls School District Superintendent Jamie Benson.

Benson gave an update about where the schools many Troy children attend are at, and to build a stronger relationship between the school district and Troy’s Town Board.

Benson first gave warm comments about how the community is the greatest asset to keeping local schools up and running, but that comes with great expectations.

It was mentioned that River Falls schools put much emphasis on personal character education and development, an apparent trend in teaching styles nationwide.

River Falls excels at this, Benson said, as the district’s schools and teachers have earned numerous national awards for this category in just a few short years.

Benson also mentioned the water pipe flaws at the high school and gave an update on what the process is for replacing those pipes this summer.

Benson mentioned the need for free and reduced lunch meals for River Falls students, and said 20 percent of students in the district receive this at some level.

Another program Benson highlighted was the Senior Tax Exchange Program. This allows senior citizens to volunteer in the schools for a certain number of hours each year to offset their property taxes for up to $500.

Benson said that though there is a minimum time requirement to get the benefit, most participants love it so much that they go beyond that just for the experience.

Lawyering up

Troy’s attorney and legal counsel Gwen Kuchevar is retiring after nearly 20 years. So the town board is putting forward proposals for someone to replace her.

“Gwen, she’s been our attorney for 20-some years, and she’s retiring from municipal law,” Pearson said. “This takes up a lot of her time. So, we’re putting together a request for proposal for another law firm or city municipal type person to help us with that.”

The board meets with the legal counsel person about once per month, Pearson said.

“I don’t like it, but it seems these days we use them more than ever, so we’ve just got to do it,” he added.

Chicken kerfuffle

It was also noted that there are no zoning citation regulations regarding backyard chickens in Troy.

This matter came up after a rooster was continuously disrupting a neighborhood. No one could be reached to correct the noise problem.

The roosters have supposedly been removed, but the coop the poultry resided in is still too close to a property line for compliance with the chicken law.

The town board disputed for a while if power should be granted to Zoning Administrator Wendy Sander to issue a citation to the property owner if the chickens had not been removed — the minimum fine is $200.

It was decided, however, that the owners would be given a time extension to June 1 for moving the coop. It will be further discussed what ticketing power the zoning administrator would have in the future.

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