Waupun Advances Chicken Ordinance For Final Vote Next Month

(Waupun) Waupun Mayor Julie Nickel cast the deciding vote Tuesday to advance an ordinance that would allow chicken’s to be housed within city limits. Following a grassroots effort by citizens, Waupun City Attorney Daniel Vande Zande was directed to draft an urban chicken ordinance. If given final approval next month, the measure would amend a municipal code that currently prohibits backyard poultry within the city.

The proposed ordinance says residential properties are allowed to house up to four chickens per parcel while educational facilities are permitted 25. Those wishing to raise hens must first obtain a permit from the city and must be renewed annually. The only exception would be educational facilities who would not be required to obtain a permit. The ordinance says that only ten permits shall be issued and outstanding at any one time. The price of the permit would set by resolution by the Common Council.

All chickens must be kept and maintained in a ventilated and roofed coop which must be enclosed with wire netting. Those who violate the ordinance are subject to a $250 fine for the first offense and $500 for each subsequent violation.

Aldermen Jason Westphal made a motion to approve the first reading of the draft ordinance but sought to remove the cap on permits. Westphall along with alderperson’s Pete Kaczmarski and Ryan Mielke voted in favor of the amended motion while Michael Matoushek, Nancy Vanderkin and Bobbie Vossekuil voted against it.

The split vote on the amendment required Mayor Nickel to break the tie. Nickel says enforcement of the ordinance is important for the city and needs to be structured into the budget. She voted “no” to the amended motion for unlimited permits indicating her preference that the permits be restricted at ten.

A second vote capping the permits at ten was again split with the mayor casting the deciding vote, this time in favor. The ordinance will be brought back to the common council during their June 11 meeting for a final vote.