The Faribault City Council, during a marathon meeting Tuesday night, decided to allow bees to be kept in town, goats to provide prescribed grazing on certain properties and balked at passing a chicken ordinance.

Actually, the council did not accept the city Planning Commission's recommendation not to adopt a ordinance allowing chickens in people's backyards. The Planning Commission had recommended the City Council not adopt such an ordinance at this time due to health concerns surrounding avian flu.

Steve Olson, executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Grower's Association, was among the people telling the council of their concern. Other comments were taken both for and against the proposed ordinance and the Council decided to have city staff fashion an ordinance for future discussion.

The City Council voted to allow bees to be kept in town.

The bee proposal kept them buzzing a while before they agreed to change the setback from the proposed 25 feet to 10 feet and then passed the ordinance. A permit would be required by the beekeeper instead of the property owner, allowing for the beekeeper to have hives on more than one property.

There would be a cap on hives on certain sized properties:

  • Maximum four hives for properties 3/4 acre or smaller.
  • Maximum eight hives for properties 3/4 to 5 acres in size.
  • No limit for properties greater than 5 acres.

No hives would be allowed in front yards and beekeepers would be required to have proof of education.

The goat grazing ordinance defines prescribed grazing as the application of goats as a landscape management technique to control noxious, invasive, or other undesirable vegetation at a specific location for a defined length of time. The goats would be brought in to do their work.

Grazing will be allowed on properties associated with large public and institutional uses such as public and private schools, city parks and trails, and properties in all zoning districts that are contiguous to an area where prescribed grazing is occurring.

If an electric fence is used to enclose the grazing animals, a second non-electric fence must be erected to protect residents and pets from contact with the electric fence.

After considerable discussion and public input, the Faribault City Council decided against imposing a moratorium on residential uses in the downtown business district.

The Council was presented with three options.

  1. Impose a moratorium on residential uses in the downtown business district.
  2. Implement a moratorium for current non-permitted uses.
  3. Have no moratorium and continue a study concerning possible amendments to the city's official controls to address density, parking and other issues related to residential development downtown.

Council member Royal Ross was strongly opposed to any moratorium. Judy Saye-Willis is a downtown building owner and called the proposal a "nonsensical moratorium."

Another building owner, Matt Drevlow, told the council, "I came down here two weeks ago and met with city staff and they were very helpful and practically throwing money at me through the rehab programs to put in an apartment downtown and then I go back to my office to start putting together the plans for an apartment and I see that the city council is trying to put a moratorium on putting apartments downtown. I asked myself who's running the ship here? I have a building I've invested $1 million in. I have the opportunity to add a apartment to the building and we're talking about a moratorium that would stop me from doing that."

He added, "I'm the guy you want downtown. Why do we do things like this to the people that are trying to do something new downtown? You've got problems downtown, I'm not going to deny that for a minute, but it's not coming from the people that are trying to do new things and invest new ideas into these buildings downtown."

Drevlow noted, "I pay $20,000 plus in taxes a year on my building. Do I get a moratorium on a portion of my taxes until you guys figure out the moratorium on what i can do with my building? Or are you going to let me move forward with my apartment? It makes no sense to me."

A number of other downtown building owners expressed opposition to a moratorium and the council then voted for the no moratorium option three.

Faribault City Council Meeting April 25, 2017-photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Faribault City Council Meeting April 25, 2017-photo by Gordy Kosfeld


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