Brooklyn Park Votes Down Allowing Chickens, Potbellied Pigs
Should homeowners in Brooklyn Park be allowed to raise chickens and potbellied pigs on their property? The Brooklyn Park City Council says no. The vote was 5-2.
The council had considered Monday night whether to allow homeowners to keep up to four chickens in their back yard, as well as one potbellied pig.
Under the proposed ordinance change, chicken coops would need to be placed at least 10 feet from property lines and 30 feet from adjacent homes. According to Brooklyn Park officials, the city receives multiple requests each year to keep chickens. Other neighboring cities like Crystal and Brooklyn Center also allow chickens.
But a host of concerns were brought up. Those include the appearance and maintenance of chicken coops, smell and safety, and attracting coyotes and foxes. There were also salmonella outbreak concerns and possible exposure to children.
Proposed Chicken Ordinance Brings Varied Opinions
The vote brought varied opinions. Brooklyn Park City Council member Susan Pha believes the concerns are overblown.
“I’ve talked to other cities as well that have allowed that in their city and they have not had the amount of issues that the overall community thought that they would,” said Pha.
Still other council members pointed to cases where residents just left their chickens when they didn’t want them anymore. Council member Terry Parks says it led to the formation of chicken rescue groups in places like Minneapolis.
“We’ve been thinking about this thing for two years. My push right now while I’m on the council, I’ve got two years left, is to get firefighters. That’s what we need. We don’t need chickens, we don’t need pigs. We need firefighters,” said Parks.
Other council members wondered about code enforcement and the cost.
“When we talk about this isn’t going to cost us money. I don’t believe that,” said Brooklyn Park City Council member Lisa Jacobson. “Because if we’re truly to enforce all the rules that are in here, it’s going to cost us a lot.”
During the meeting, officials and residents brought up that some Brooklyn Park residents already keep chickens in violation of the current ordinance.
“We can’t enforce the ones that are out there already violating the code. So now we’re going to change the code so that we don’t have to worry about the ones violating it,” said Brooklyn Park City Council member Mark Mata.
Brooklyn Park Mayor Jeff Lunde pointed out it’s legal to keep chickens in Los Angeles, where he grew up. He says the chicken issue would be negligible in terms of complaints. Lunde says he gets the most complaints about dogs and bonfires.
Pigs Become a Talking Point
The possibility of allowing potbellied pigs, which are smaller than farm pigs, came up when a resident approached the city requesting an ordinance change in order to keep her potbellied pig.
Brooklyn Park does allows pigs, but only on properties larger than five acres. Under the proposed ordinance change, one potbellied pig would be allowed per household. Homeowners would be required to register the animal, just like dogs. New Hope and Crystal are examples of nearby cities that do allow potbellied pigs.
The city of Brooklyn Park made changes to its animal ordinance in recent years. Those changes include allowing beekeeping in 2015 and passing limits for the number dogs and cats allowed per household in 2018.