The Powell City Council gave third and final approval Monday night to an ordinance allowing people to keep up to four chickens — none of which can be roosters — at their homes. A person who wants to have chickens must pay a $5 annual fee per bird, not slaughter them in the city limits, keep them in the backyard in a clean enclosure and meet several other guidelines.
The new ordinance, however, does not allow businesses to have more than four chickens on their premises. Several businesses in Powell have offered or are now offering baby chicks for sale, and some have dozens of chickens. Police officers could issue citations, since the law is in effect today (Thursday).
“It is an enforcement decision for the police,” City Attorney Sandra Kitchen said.
Kitchen said some ordinances are not rigidly enforced, instead only when a complaint is made. For example, the city has an ordinance on hedges that is only enforced when someone contacts the Police Department. It’s up to the council if they want to remove ordinances, she said.
“If they’re not going to enforce something on the books, they shouldn’t leave it on the books,” she said.
Police Chief Roy Eckerdt said the chicken ordinance will be adhered to by his department.
“We’ll enforce it as written,” Eckerdt said. The chief said the city needs to revise the law to provide an exception for businesses.
Another possible conflict is with people who hatch eggs and raise a brood. While having more than four chickens at one time will now be illegal, earlier this year, the council told one Powell man who raises chickens for 10 days to two weeks before taking them to a farm that he could do so without being cited.
“Happy Easter!” Mayor Don Hillman said.
City Administrator Zane Logan said people who have more than four chickens in their homes or yards will only be cited if a complaint is made.
“The police will not be going door to door,” Logan said.
Councilman Myron Heny said he was concerned about people with small lots having multiple animals, but other councilmen said the permitting process would prevent such a problem from occurring.
The council also gave third and final approval to an ordinance amending the Powell City Code on how many animals may legally be kept at a home. The limit for other animals is two per residence. Four rabbits and four chickens may be kept per lot, with the proper permits.
Using the term “lot” instead of “residence” for chickens and rabbits will prevent an apartment complex from having dozens of rabbits, the council decided. Whoever first gets a permit can have the chickens.
“First come, first serve,” said Deputy City Attorney Scott Kath.
“We don’t want it to be a feedlot,” Heny said.
The council also held the second reading of an ordinance amending the city code pertaining to people who keep rabbits, setting guidelines for cleanliness.
In other agenda items, the council:
• Gave final approval to a pair of ordinances on city entertainment and dance permits, making it clear the owner or owners of the businesses where the permits are used are responsible for them.
• Approved for the second time an ordinance rezoning lots in the Crawford Subdivision Second Filing from limited residential (R-L) to general residential district (R-G).
• Gave a second round of approval to an ordinance rezoning Lot 2, Block 3 in the Watertower West Addition from general business district (B-G) to general residential district (R- G).
• Approved a change in the grant request for the new terminal at Powell Municipal Airport due to unforeseen changes in the project. It cost an additional $18,307, bringing the total to $351,640.
Ninety percent of the money, $316,476, will come from the Federal Aviation Administration, up from the $300,000 initially sought. The state will kick in another $21,098, or 6 perent, while the city will pay $14,066, or 4 percent. The Wyoming Aeronautics Commission distributes the grant money.
• Approved a waiver-of-fees request from the Powell Valley Chamber of Commerce for the Summer Concert Series at Washington Park, with shows tentatively set for six Fridays: June 13 and 20, July 11 and 18, and Aug. 8 and 15; and for a Sept. 5 street dance, with The Commons as a backup site in case of inclement weather, as well as Santa’s Workshop on Nov. 28 and Country Christmas on Dec. 6, both at The Commons.
• Approved a panel of three alternate judges for Municipal Court in case Judge James Allison has a conflict or is unavailable. The request came to City Attorney Sandra Kitchen shortly before 5 p.m. Monday, she told the council.
Powell lawyer Jessica Loeper, a former Frannie Municipal Court judge, Edward Webster, the Cody Municipal Court judge, and Byron Municipal Court Judge Nick Lewis were appointed, subject to them accepting it. A fill-in judge is rarely needed, according to Allison, happening about five times in 33 years.
There is no fixed fee for their service, he said.
• Was told the roof at The Commons will need repair if the city plans to continue to lease the building out. Leaks have become problematic, in part because of the harsh winter.
“I mean, it’s ASAP,” Logan said.
The city will seek requests for proposals to see how much it will cost to repair the roof, and Logan will report back to the council.
• Heard there still is no information from the Wyoming Municipal League on the $175 million in local government spending that was approved by the 2014 Legislature. Logan told the council he hopes to have figures this week.
• Was told the Powell Aquatic Center will open on Monday after a closure for maintenance.
• Heard from Councilman Jim Hillberry, who said he learned at a recent Shoshone Municipal Pipeline meeting that Powell saw a 12 percent increase in water use in January compared to last year. That was caused by people leaving water running so pipes would not freeze during the cold weather, he said.
• Was introduced to new Parks Superintendent Del Barton, who started work last week.
“Glad to have you aboard,” Hillman said.
• Approved $515,754.12 in bills and claims.
• Noted that Councilman Josh Shorb was absent.