Weather Forecast


City Council will hold public hearing on proposed chicken ordinance

A proposed ordinance that would allow Hudson homeowners to keep up to five hens in their backyards will be brought to a public hearing, following action by the City Council Monday night.

The council approved a first reading of the ordinance after making a couple of minor changes.

Alderperson Mary Yacoub, who chairs the Public Safety Committee that the proposed ordinance came out of, called for the public hearing.

Yacoub said she sent an email to her District 2 constituents asking for their input on allowing backyard chickens and received more responses than she has for any other city issue, including rezoning the former St. Croix Meadows dog track for use as a school site.

The respondents were split close to 50-50 between those favoring the proposed ordinance and those opposed to it, Yacoub said.

The public hearing was scheduled for the Nov. 4 council meeting, with a final decision on the ordinance to follow the hearing.

District 3 Alderperson Lori Bernard raised concerns about the ordinance. Her biggest concern, she said, is whether a chicken coop as close as 10 feet to a lot line and 25 feet from a neighboring house will affect adjacent property values.

Bernard said the number of restrictions in the proposed ordinance indicate that chickens might not be compatible with city life.

District 5 Alderperson John Hoggatt disagreed. He said many cities allow residents to keep small numbers of hens.

Council President Rich Vanselow, who represents District 6, questioned the need for a public hearing. He said the council heard opinions on the issue from a group of people for close to an hour at a previous meeting.

He worried that the council would be setting a precedent for holding a hearing on every ordinance it passes.

Vanselow, who has voiced his opposition to the proposed ordinance, was the only council member to vote against the first reading and public hearing.

The District 4 council seat is currently vacant following the resignation of Kurt TeWinkel.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

(715) 426-1066