By Shelby Stewart
Ortonville- The village council voted 5-1 on Monday night, to send an ordinance on chickens for legal review. Trustee Tonja Brice voted against the motion, while trustees Mark Butzu, Mark Robinson, Karen Sleva, Coleen Skornicka and pro-tempore Dan Eschmann voted in favor of the motion. President Wayne Wills was absent with notice.
“Why would we seek approval from our neighbors to have chickens when we don’t seek approval from our neighbors for anything else in any other ordinance?” asked Brice of the board. “This is so micro managing our neighbors and our community.”
At the December meeting, the council voted to task the planning commission with coming up with a first draft of an ordinance, however, there was no representative from the planning commission to present a draft at the Monday meeting.
“Ordinances are there to protect all residents, not just the eight who have chickens,” said Eschmann. “Ordinances are there to protect the residents from having a neighbor who may have a 40 by 60 lot and wants a 30 by 40 barn. So ordinances should not be loosely written, ordinances are there if a resident raises his hand and says ‘I have a problem.’”
Robinson, who is also the liaison for the planning commission, presented some of the research he had done and read the ordinance for the City of Fenton. This ordinance, if adopted by the village, would limit the number of chickens any one household can own to four, would require written approval from all adjacent neighbors, and the chicken owner would need to get a permit yearly for their chicken coop.
Ordinance 90.60, running at large, also had a revision sent for legal review to include more possible pets, whereas the previous ordinance only pertained to dogs. That vote also passed 5-1, only opposed by Brice.
The chicken ban was implemented on Aug. 28, 2017 by a 4-3 vote by the village council to direct the village manager to enforce the current animal ordinance that makes owning a chickens along with cows, horses, pigs, goats, pigeons, geese, ducks or any other animal, fowl or insect except birds, dogs, cats or other harmless and domesticated household pets unlawful. The animal ordinance dates back to 1982. Village chicken owners had until Oct. 24 to remove their chickens from their village home. John Lyons, village manager said nine village residents were notified of their chicken violations. However, in October the board of trustees voted 3-2 to not enforce the current ordinance banning chickens and to look into options for a future ordinance.