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Village of Star Prairie: Remembering Peterson

Chicken ordinance on horizon for village

Village of Star Prairie President Chad Peterson took a few moments to remember the service and friendship of recent board trustee Gary Peterson, who passed away on Sunday, Dec. 4.

“Very sad to hear of Gary’s passing. Gary started serving on the board in 2009. He was here when I became president. He’s done a lot of good for the village. We’re definitely going to miss him, his experience and his friendship. Our condolences go out to his family,” said Peterson.

Peterson went on to thank board members, village staff and community members for their help in making the village’s Christmas celebration a success.

“I’d like to thank everybody for their help with Santa Day. The board really pitched in and did a lot of work. Thanks to Chris for all the work you did behind the scenes, to Pastor Dan for having the choir down there, to Brody for getting everything set up, great work, and to Rick and Jessica Larson and Cindy Gibson as well. It was a good turnout and a good day,” said Peterson.

Village trustees discussed details of a new ordinance defining the rules and regulations incumbent on anyone wishing to raise chickens within the village limits at their meeting Wednesday night.

“This issue of chickens in municipalities has been coming up with greater frequency around the state, and I guess it came up in your village. There’s some controversy surrounding these and a lot of misconceptions and fears,” said Village Attorney Tim Scott.

The current village ordinance allows for two chickens with very little restriction or specification.

The new four-page proposed ordinance prepared by Scott focused on five basic issues: who should issue the permit, who would be responsible for doing the inspections and enforcement, how many chickens should be allowed and whether or not roosters are allowed (sound issue), where should they be allowed, and whether consent from adjacent property owners should be required.

Scott’s proposed ordinance would designate the plan commision as the permitting authority, delegate inspection and enforcement to the police department, limit the number to four chickens with no roosters, restrict location to R1 or R2 only, and vest any consent issues with the permitting body, in this case the plan commission. The ordinance would also address where specifically coops could be located on a property, coop construction, how they would have to be cared for, how the permit lapses or how someone could lose their permit, how it can be revoked, and application fees.

“It’s more involved than I thought, but I think if you are going to allow this, you should do it right, try to foresee any problems that might arise,” said Scott.

Trustees tabled the ordinance until their January meeting pending additional language amending the existing ordinance to be added by Scott.

Other business

Trustees renewed the contract for liability insurance for the village with Rural Mutual Insurance Company. Rural representative Tom Jenkins alerted trustees that the annual premium for the policy would be increasing by 4 percent or about $400 in 2017 due to the auto inflation guard for buildings.

Trustees approved the 2017 sewer utility budget. The budget calls for $181,859 in operating income and $211,390 in operating expense projecting the utility to operate at a deficit of $29,531 for 2017.

The board approved Jan. 4, 2017, as the date for the village caucus to begin at 6:30 p.m. at the community center.