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City Council: No chickens

  • Rachel Colsch and Tavyon Colsch, 2, outside her house playing with her baby chickes she recieved as a gift from mother. The chicks are named Pete and Fuzz Brain. Press photos by Thomas Nelson.

  • Rachel Colsch tends to her pet baby chickens. From right to left, Midnight, Fuzz Brain and Pete. Midnight and Pete are silkie chickens.

  • Midnight, Pete and Fuzz Brain huddle together. The chickens are pets and belong to Rachel Colsch. She went before the Charles City Council to keep them due to a city ordinance.

  • Rachel Colsch and her chickens Pete, Midnight and Fuzz Brain. The Charles City Council voted to require Colsch to remove the chickens from the city limits.

  • Rachel Colsch in front of where she keeps her chickens. A brown egg laying hen walks behind her.

By Thomas Nelson,

The Charles City Council voted Monday evening to deny chickens on Charles Street after a resident requested permission to keep her flock.

The council also voted to amend the current ordinance in the books on fireworks to mirror state legislation, except to prohibit the use and discharge of fireworks within corporate city limits.

“The city is outlawing the use and explosion of fireworks,” said Charles City Assistant Attorney Brad Sloter during the meeting.

Charles City Council member Michael Hammond noted that former Gov. Terry Branstad said during a press conference he wanted the state to benefit from the sale of fireworks, not necessarily the use.

“You can buy them in town, but you can’t shoot them in town,” said Charles City Council member Jerry Joerger.

Charles City Administrator Steven Diers and Sloter noted that they would watch what other cities are doing, and see if other Iowa cities are staying in line with Charles City or not.

The council had discussed the chicken situation at a planning meeting on May 31.

All but Charles City Council member Dan Mallaro voted Monday to require Rachel Colsch to remove the chickens from her property.

Colsch has a total of nine hens that she keeps on her property, inclosed by a chicken wire and wooden fence.

“I grew up on a small farm,” Colsch said. Her parents raise chickens and had given her the first six chickens as a gift.

“She gave me those for the fresh eggs. The baby ones were given to Tatum (her son) for his birthday,” Colsch said.

Tatum received the chickens on April 7.

Colsch’s son named his chickens Pete, Midnight and Fuzz Brain. Pete and Midnight are silky chickens, a rare breed.

Colsch went before the council because an anonymous complaint had been filed over her chickens.

According to Charles City Code, Chapter 55.03, it is unlawful for a person to keep livestock within the city without the approval of the council, or in compliance with Charles City’s zoning regulation.

During the planning meeting May 31, Charles City Assistant Attorney Brad Sloter noted that the default rule is that having livestock within city limits is unlawful.

Hammond had visited the home early during the day on June 5.

“It’s not rural enough for me,” said Hammond. “It’s too residential of an area.”

Joerger and Charles City Council member DeLaine Freeseman said they had both received calls opposing having the chickens on the property.

Hammond felt that Colsch was caring for the chickens correctly and handling them well, but her residence was too urban for livestock.

Joerger made a motion to deny Colsch’s request to be allowed to keep the chickens.

“I love my chickens, but I’ll try to find a safe place for them,” Colsch said.

City staff will work with Colsch and give her an appropriate amount of time to remove the chickens from her property, Sloter said.

Also at the meeting, Terry Huxsol requested a street closure for a bike night event at City Tap on Main Street during five Thursday nights over the summer.

The events would take place on June 8, June 22, July 27, Aug. 10 and Aug. 24.

“We want to do it right,” Huxsol said. “I want to be in charge of the alcohol consumption.”

Huxsol originally wanted to close Main Street for the events, but said he would be fine with the closure of Lane Street instead.

The council approved his request for the closure of Lane Street, with an amendment to close the alleyway behind City Tap as well.

“Let’s try Lane (Street) a few times,” Hammond said.

Huxsol will be presenting the city with documents listing the city as a an additional insurer prior to the event.

“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure everyone is acting appropriate,” Huxsol said.

If the bike nights end up getting a larger attendance, the council agreed to revisit closing Main Street.

“This is is about promoting City Tap and the city of Charles City,” Huxsol said.

The council also approved a resolution accepting Lookout Point Communications/New-Com’s broadband study proposal per the Broadband Commission’s recommendation.