To keep from running afoul of regulations prohibiting raising farm animals within city limits, Mitch Holmes requested permission from the Clarinda City Council Wednesday, July 22, to keep chickens at his property on North 12th Street.
Clarinda City Manager Gary McClarnon said Holmes was moving from the country to a home at 1100 N. 12 St. Since the home is just within the city limits and surrounded by agricultural land, Holmes asked for an exemption that would allow him to raise 10 to 12 chickens on his property as he had done previously.
“He would have the chicken coop and obviously have them fenced up,” McClarnon said.
After discussing the details of the request, the council voted 4-1 in favor of allowing Holmes to raise the chickens on his property. However, the council reserved the right to withdraw permission should the chickens create a problem in the future.
Casting the lone opposing vote was council member Craig Hill. He was concerned about the precedent allowing the request would create.
“I would be against it due to the fact we’re setting a precedent that other people would come and ask us for other things,” Hill said. “What happens if someone else comes in and the neighbors are OK with it or if a new neighbor moves in and they are not OK with it?”
Mayor Lisa Hull said the council has granted special permission on occasion in the past for youth living in Clarinda to raise small animals as part of a 4-H project.
“Those have been approved, but I do know you have not approved some other requests that have been made over the years,” McClarnon said.
One key difference that was noted between the 4-H requests and the request by Holmes was the amount of time involved. The 4-H projects were a temporary situation, where the request by Holmes would be permanent.
“The thing about approving them for the 4-H kids was it was a temporary thing. It was a project and after a few months it was over,” council member Jeff McCall said.
During the discussion, council member Jamie Shore asked how many neighbors Holmes had and if he had spoken with them about his request.
“He says he talked to the neighbors and all the neighbors were ok with it. He has neighbors that are pretty far away from him,” McClarnon said.
“I think he talked to (the neighbor) across the street and I think he said he was going to talk to Dr. (William) Shelton, who is across the street. Those are his closest,” McCall said.
“I don’t have an issue with it, personally, just because I know his property is several hundred feet away from the neighbors, aside from being around the road and surrounded by row crop. That makes it a little bit better in my mind,” council member Matt Ridge said.