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Red Wing ends chicken discussion

RED WING — After all the squawking in Red Wing over the past year, the idea of allowing chickens within city limits came to an unceremonious end Monday night.

The city council decided not to pursue the matter any further after two local groups weighed its pros and cans in recent months. The Planning Commission recommended taking no action at this time, siting a lack of demonstrated need and demand at its October discussion, while the Sustainability Commission made a November recommendation to allow chickens within city limits with some restrictions.

The issue was initially raised by Red Wing's Shannon Tarr in August after she was ticketed twice for illegally having fowl on her property — she says they are therapeutic to her young boy — but a decision was put off until the city solved its budget concerns.

When all the issues were finally weighed, city officials were unable to justify adding another task to an already strapped enforcement officer's duties.

"We've had to already make very tough budget decisions and set our priorities," city council member Lisa Bayley said. "This is still adding something that isn't a budget priority. I don't think it's something we need to spend more time on."


Scott Bender, a neighbor of Tarr's, presented a petition to the city council prior to the discussion. He said it contained 80 signatures against allowing chickens in town.

He also said 20 Minnesota cities have considered changing their local ordinances to allow for fowl since 2009, but 13 have decided against it.

"It's a trendy issue, but it's a bad idea," Bender said.

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