JEANNIE BARTON-NORTHRUP, email@example.com
The Park Hills City Council held its first public work session this week since it disbanded ineffective committees. Despite public and council support, Mayor Stacey Easter voiced concerns regarding changes to current city codes regarding poultry.
For a month, a hot topic in Park Hills has been updating the current city code to allow citizens to have roosters and to have the ability to sell chicks and eggs. The current code regarding chickens, which can be found at ecode360.com/29322228, does not allow residents to keep roosters or sell eggs or any other byproduct. Any city residents who live in a single-family residence are allowed to raise up to six hens. Also covered in the code are specifications for licensing and housing.
The code came up for debate during the June 13 city council meeting. At the meeting, resident Brad Weiss addressed the council and requested an ordinance change because his family maintains a flock of poultry that includes a rooster. Weiss claims his family has owned the chickens and rooster for three years but was informed during a recent neighbor dispute that a rooster was not allowed to be kept.
Weiss was given an opportunity to persuade the aldermen to change the code before the city must enforce the current code.
An online petition created by the Weiss family titled “Become More Self-Sufficient” has more than 280 signatures. While several council members indicated they were in favor of changing the code, Easter spoke out against the change. The mayor expressed concern that citizens with roosters are being disrespectful to the city by ignoring codes.
Roosters, goats, other livestock, “At what point do we not allow these things [livestock] into the city,” said Easter. Currently, city code 205.190, found at ecode360.com/29077986, prohibits Park Hills citizens from owning any livestock other than six hens.
Easter said residents would likely ignore that code as well, and the city will continuously be tasked with updating livestock codes. Easter said the additional pressure of allowing additional animals into the city will place even more strain on the animal control department.
Discussions on the livestock subject ended when it was determined two ordinance drafts will be written for review at the next city council meeting. One is regarding a change in the ordinance allowing roosters and the selling of eggs and chicks; another ordinance will focus on special licensing for breeding and kenneling purposes.
Easter reiterated that at the next meeting, no votes would be taken on the subjects; the ordinances would only be up for review.
The next topic up for discussion was the water department’s reconstruction progress.
Brian Cochran with Cochran Engineering provided updates on the phases of completed construction with pumps and facility structures. Cochran then spoke about the upcoming phase dealing with moving controls to a dry room and tying in a new supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system.
Funds have already been budgeted for the project; however, with rising costs and unforeseen project setbacks, an additional $50,000 or more may be needed to complete the project. The city plans to use American Rescue Plan Act funds if the water department does not have the additional money.
Last on the agenda for the work session was blasting permission for the Ameren operating center. The council unanimously voted to allow the blasting and set a bond amount at $1,000,000. Ameren will be blasting on the east side of Parkway Drive in a sparsely populated area.