The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Wakefield talks chickens


June 16, 2022


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Wakefield — The city of Wakefield planning commission considered implementing an ordinance to regulate chickens on residential properties.

According to city manager Rob brown there is a surplus of residences that maintain chickens within the city. He said under the current code residents are allowed to have as many chickens as they would like as long as they are not within 175 feet of another dwelling. He said the current code is very vague and doesn’t event specify whether or not roosters are permitted. According to Brown the Gogebic County Sheriff’s Office and the city have received some complaints regarding issues with chickens such as smell, concerns over the number of chickens, chickens running at large and noise from roosters.

Brown said an issue that came up when the issue was previously discussed last year was that of the Right to Farm Act. This is a state law that states that traditional farming areas have the right to maintain their farming abilities. According to Brown the right to farm act does weigh out the issue of the number of chickens for both the health and well being of the chicken and that of humans. He said it regulates the number of chickens per square foot.

“Needless to say without that (number regulation) it’s been causing some headache,” said Brown.

However, Brown said a bigger concern is how people care for the chickens. He said there seems to be a lot of concern over what they do with the feces and the smells. He said that an ordinance would help to implement regulations and limit these issues.

Mayor Dale White questioned how they would be able to regulate the number of chickens. He said it would be as difficult to regulate the number of chickens as it is to regulate the number of cats.

“I just don’t want to see us spend a whole lot of time on this like we did with the dog ordinance and in the end we are no better off,” said White.

Brown said they have had some complaints already this spring regarding the chickens. However, he said there are some other ordinances that the sheriff can use to address the issues such as the city’s noise ordinance, animals at large ordinance, and a general nuisance ordinance.

“There’s always a way you can work around stuff,” said Brown. “It would be nice if they could go out and say you can’t have chickens because the ordinance says this, this and this, verses well it’s a nuisance and you can’t have them because your neighbor just doesn’t like them. It’s a different weight in court.”

The commission chose to table the ordinance.

The commission also:

—Heard a presentation from Becket and Raeder Landscape, Architecture, Planning, Engineering, and Environmental Services and then voted to hire the firm to create the city’s master plan.

—Approved a conditional use permit for Michelle Wasielewski to have an Auto Detailing business operated by her son, out of their garage. She said her son is 16 and has been interning at Randall’s auto for the last four years. The permit will sunset in four years.

—Looked over a draft ordinance on tiny homes.


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