Fox Point - The village could soon follow a growing list of communities and permit residents to have feather fowl.
Residents Jeff and Kara Ziebelman recently came before the Village Board and requested officials consider allowing chickens. The issue was hashed over by the board Tuesday, and Village Attorney Eric Larson was directed to create a draft ordinance.
"This has been a real hot topic," Larson said. "Suddenly, there's been a niche for this type of agreement."
Jeff Ziebelman said he believed the proposal would be a reasonable fit for the community. A quartet of hens, Ziebelman asserted, would not be any louder than a dog.
Like many chicken proponents, the Ziebelmans favor the proposal with the intent of raising chickens - not slaughtering them or selling eggs for commercial use.
The village's proposal comes on the heels of a decision by the city of Milwaukee. In May, the Common Council narrowly voted to allow chickens in a pilot program that will be revisited next May.
Neighbors must approve
If Fox Point does move forward with an ordinance, the village would likely follow Milwaukee's lead and put a one-year sunset on the document with a provision it could be taken up and reinstated.
Fox Point trustees reviewed Milwaukee's ordinance, which contains a number of stipulations. Residents are required to purchase a permit to have chickens, obtain written consent from all abutting neighbors and maintain proper sanitary conditions. Roosters are prohibited, as is the slaughtering of hens.
"I think we could look at the Milwaukee model," Trustee Eric Fonstad said. "I think they've done a pretty comprehensive approach to it."
A number of logistical issues were discussed. Board members said an inspector would likely be necessary to uphold enforcement if such an ordinance was passed. Village Manager Susan Robertson said there are a number of possibilities to the proposal, including contracting with Milwaukee for the service.
"If you'd want to do it, we could figure out how," Robertson said.
Keeping predators at bay
Other issues bandied about during Tuesday's discussion included housing structures for the chickens and creating assurances the animals would not increase the likelihood of predators.
Although a firm date has not been set in stone, Larson could present his draft ordinance at the next Village Board meeting at 7 p.m. Nov. 8.
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