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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Committee Supports City Chickens Ordinance

Issue Date: June 10, 2020

Discussion to allow chickens in the City of Peshtigo was one of the main items at the Judiciary Committee meeting on Tuesday, June 9. The other main item was finalizing the ATV ordinance with input and discussion from the audience and committee members.

Three committee members spoke in supporting an ordinance to allow residents to raise chickens in the city. Those in favor who want to raise chickens themselves, were Alderpersons: Brigitte Schmidt, John Behrendt and Archer Leupp.

Schmidt said, "I don't want this to be looked at with only my opinion in mind. I have heard more positive things about chickens than negative. I take all comments into consideration". She added, "If people are responsible in raising the chickens, they can be just as clean as any other pet. It is a personal preference if you care to raise, chickens, dogs or cats".

Behrendt commented, "It is a good way to teach your kids about animals and life. It would have also been a good way to assure we had eggs with the experience we had with COVID19, not being able to find eggs or they were priced way to high".

Leupp added, "Other than the cost of purchasing hens, a coop and adequate fencing, the upkeep costs are minimal of approximately $30 per year to feed each hen and the benefits include, 200 to 250 eggs per year and are comparable to free range eggs. These eggs can be sold between $2.50 and $5 per dozen and are healthier organic eggs. With the COVID19, it made more people thinking to be more self sufficient by raising some of their own food. They are also good for pest control. Chickens eat ticks, grub and harmful worms and many other harmful bugs, provide great entertainment for families and provide great learning opportunities for children".

Mayor Cathi Malke shared her concerns of keeping urban chickens stating,"Chickens can cause public health issues like Salmonella along with the H5N1 bird flu which started this way. It invites predators such as raccoons, coyotes, rats and hawks. It increases litigation between neighbors with nuisance claims, smells, noise and dogs and cats eating the birds. Housing and fencing are not a good look for the city and there could be an increased cost for police to inspect and answer nuisance calls. Feed storage can cause rat and rodent problems and it opens the floodgate for urban agriculture, which was banned in cities due to health concerns. Not only these concerns, but you are also burying the police department by adding this ordinance. They have already been addressing homes that are in need of clean up in the City".

Attorney Dave Spangenberg and Police Lt. Jared Phillips echoed some of the same comments Malke stated. Alderman, Rick Berth said, "I am not against this, but everyone I talked to was against it. I will continue to ask for residents opinions and will provide you with their feedback."

The proposed ordinance was postponed and Spangenberg will make the discussed changes to the ordinance. When complete, he will send back to Judiciary for conversation at the next committee meeting.

There was open discussion from the audience and committee in helping to outline and fine tune the ordinance for allowing ATVs and UTVs to be driven on city streets. Malke asked about one of the regulations that noted: 'not allowing operation along old US Highway 41 (French Street)'. "Why are we restricting the main drag that would exclude the ability of getting to Lee's and other businesses in the area? If we restrict the main street, we will have more of an issue in the residential areas with having to take residential area streets to get to those destinations". After further discussion, it was agreed old 41 (French Street) will be open for ATV/UTV use.

Berth added, "What are they doing about the parks"? Officer Zak Albrecht of the Mairnette County Sheriff Department said, "We shouldn't allow ATVs/UTVs in the parks". Parks and Recreation Director Shawn Northrop commented, "Most people abide by the speed limit, coming in and out of the park should be ok. Do we want to designate an area for ATV parking"? Leupp added, "The units are noisier than a vehicle so people and children can hear and see them better and there is no visibility obstruction for the driver". Schmidt added, "Badger Park shouldn't be open. It is not an ATV destination and makes it a lot easier on law enforcement if they are not allowed in the park".

Albrecht said, "If allowing in the park, it promotes adults riding back and forth between campsites to visit their neighbors and consume adult beverages, therefore driving under the influence. If it is open to the park you will have people riding their machines to the beach packed with coolers and children on them, which is dangerous". Behrendt added, "I agree with a lot of what was said, but I hate rules on top of rules, but it will make it a lot easier for the police force to monitor if we don't allow them in the park".

Albrecht suggested having a designated parking lot for ATV's/UTVs outside of the park area, possibly between the school and campground in the graveled area.

The original ordinance stated routes would be open from 6 a.m. until dark and then closed, until re-opening at 6 a.m. the following morning. Routes would be closed from December 1 until Marinette County announces trail openings in Spring, usually around the 1st of May.

Comments were heard that the Town of Peshtigo routes are open year round and they don't have any restrictions and trails should be open all year, 24/7, 365. Malke stated, "We should be respectful of those people who don't use ATVs. I think we need to take baby steps and be careful what we do".

Schmidt replied, "I have issues with changing an ordinance, but if there are complaints we can shut down the road. I don't see a need for the curfew. I would feel better with it open 24/7, 365 and then the police don't have to be busy with enforcing the curfew". Lt. Phillips asked, "Do you want to do a trial time? They are no different than an automobile and there is better visibility than a vehicle".

Lt. Phillips stated, "I have recently observed carelessness with ATVs racing up and down certain roads, but I think they are thinking it is a town road. This is not the Town of Peshtigo, there is a difference. Police are educating the riders as to the rules and regulations".

It was approved at committee level to have the routes open 24/7, 365. Town of Peshtigo resident, Pat Ferdon added, "The first month might be a rat race, but it will calm down after that".

Another regulation discussed, was letting 12 year olds drive a separate machine with their parents if they have a safety certificate. Schmidt said, "I don't feel comfortable with a 12 year old driving an ATV, it is not much different than driving a car and I don't think we should allow 12 year olds to drive the unit by themselves".

Mayor Malke had reached out to Patrick Rau for his thoughts pertaining to ATVs pertaining to the school. Malke stated to Rau, I don't think we should add anymore congestion to an area that is already a bottleneck. Rau responded back to Malke agreeing that any additional traffic would compile the problem, however if you limit it to 16 years and older I would imagine the UTV would replace their car/truck. Secondly, the fact that they are allowed to be driven does not mean we would allow them to be parked on school grounds. We currently do not allow snowmobiles to be driven/parked on school grounds. Lastly, I don't imagine we will encounter a larger number of students who would ride their UTV/ATV to school. So, my thoughts are that I would advocate a minimum age of 16 for all UTV/ATV vehicles in the city and we will take care of the parking issue if and when needed. I have some deep concerns about kids younger than 16 driving UTV/ATV's on the streets near school, especially during pick-up/drop off times.

Malke spoke to the committee and audience stating "We need to be courteous to all the people in Peshtigo and not just the ATV/RTV/UTV owners. I understand the snowplowing and second shift use, but I think 24/7, 365 is not necessary and could cause noise and nuisance issues. We may need to address that if our residents aren't happy with that'".

Several responses were heard including Berth commenting, "It is a parental thing, if he is with me he is doing the right thing". Another comment from the audience was, "My 13 year old is more responsible and cautious than my older child. Schmidt said, "I still agree with Rau, I think the age to drive alone should be 16".

After many comments and suggestions, some of the regulations of the ordinance were changed and after corrections, it will be sent to Council for final approval. The committee will reserve the right to make amendments at any time to the ordinance if need be.

Two other ordinances were tabled for further discussion including, designation of a Municipal Official to issue Alcoholic Operators License which was agreed to have Spangenberg draft an ordinance for the City Clerk or Deputy Clerk to have the ability to issue operator license with the approval from a Police Officer.

The other ordinance tabled was for a slow-no-wake zone for the Peshtigo River. The Town of Peshtigo passed an ordinance for the no wake zone and asked the City to join them to extend the no wake zone in the city all the way to the bridge.

There was brief conversation with Spangenberg pointing out that after passing of the ordinance for the Town of Peshtigo, the Town was informed that the DNR will not be able to enforce the ordinance. Schmidt commented, "I would never want to create an ordinance that we can't enforce". Leupp made a motion to table the discussion for a future meeting after the Town makes a solid determination of what they will be doing.

The last ordinance to finalize was for Daycares, which was drafted by Spangenberg defining the parameters of what types of daycares can be located in the different districts of the city.


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