Committee takes step toward allowing chickens in Savanna

SAVANNA – A city committee will draft a zoning regulation that would allow for chickens within city limits.

The Personnel/Public Relations/Ordinance Committee recommended to the City Council on March 14 allowing conditional use zoning that would allow residents to raise chickens. Committee Chairman Christine Lee said many municipalities already have made such allowances.

Public Works Superintendent John Lindeman has expressed opposition, but noted in correspondence that if the committee did decide to allow chickens in the city, it should do so through zoning regulation. That would require a public hearing on each case, allowing neighbors to voice concern and the city to place and enforce specific conditions.

The committee on March 14 also:

• Decided against expanding or changing the reimbursement program for sidewalk repairs. The city will try to raise public awareness of the program.

• Addressed complaints that the city isn’t enforcing its dumpster ordinance that requires screening and fencing. Most of the 150 dumpsters in use in the city are not in compliance, Lee said. She said she will attend Chamber of Commerce meetings to speak with dumpster owners.

• Removed from its agenda the removal of five billboard signs within city limits because of the expense involved.

City ordinance on marijuana

The council approved first reading of an ordinance creating a fine, rather than a court date, for people caught with 10 grams or less of marijuana or paraphernalia. Police Chief Michael Moon requested the ordinance for ease of enforcement and to reflect the change in state law last July that makes such offenses civil cases rather than criminal.

“This will be much easier for the police to enforce, much easier for the violators to take care of, and it would result in more revenue coming into the city,” Moon said.

City Attorney Phil Jensen added a line stating that a positive field test is sufficient for determining a city ordinance violation.

The council also approved an ordinance to establish a TIF committee to work on the applications for the city’s new TIF district, waiving the second reading.

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