Chickens in Lovell? A citizen request

A Lovell citizen has written a letter to the Town of Lovell requesting that residents be allowed to keep chickens within the town limits, a practice that is currently prohibited by ordinance.

Wendy Files said in a letter presented to the town council at the June 9 meeting that many citizens would like to keep chickens in town, mostly for the eggs, noting that chickens provide a “high quality food source” that can be provided inexpensively, which she said is important “considering recent events that have negatively affected many in our community.”

She recommended that the town allow a limited number of hens, suggesting up to six.

“Many people are not going to be able to financially handle another event that shuts down the economy as this virus has,” Files wrote. “People are going to do what they can to feed their families, and having chickens is one way to do this.”

Files suggested teaching people how to keep chickens “in a responsible way.” She said the two primary objections to chickens, that they smell and spread disease, are not true “as long as a few steps are taken to insure hygiene. She said only roosters are “extremely noisy” but said most communities do not allow roosters.

Other advantages she cited are that they allow more kids to participate in 4-H, which also teaches proper care for the flock, and gardening, from fertilizer to bug control.

The council seemed generally amenable to the idea, and Mayor Kevin Jones suggested that the counselors talk about the idea at a work meeting. Town administrator Jed Nebel said he would obtain some ordinances from towns that allow chickens.

Councilman Tom Newman also suggested reaching out to Files for further information, adding, “I’m curious to see how many (people) are interested (in keeping chickens).”

Town Attorney Sandra Kitchen said the City of Powell allows chickens via a permit system, adding that the rules are “pretty extensive.”

No more Jake brakes

After hearing requests for several years, Nebel looked into a sign through the Wyoming Dept. of Transportation to ban compression brakes in town. He said WyDOT informed him that the town would first need to pass an ordinance banning the brakes. The result is Ordinance 989 to prohibit the use of compression brakes in town, which the council passed on first reading June 9.

During discussion, the council considered how many signs would be needed to inform the driving public about the ordinance, at first noting the need for signs on each entrance to town, then expanding to alternate routes into town.

The signs would be welcomed, councilwoman Carol Miller said, noting that she and sister Pat Baxendale, while running LaDeDa, hear compression brakes at the stop light frequently.

Nebel said the town may have to buy the signs, but WyDOT could install them.

The council last week also passed on first reading last week Ordinance 990, which modifies the town code to require residents to put up a sign or placard if they want to prohibit door-to-door peddlers from coming to their home.

Kitchen explained that the former Wyoming “Green River Ordinance” is no longer in effect, noting that the “rules changed two or three years ago.” She said the town can no longer outlaw door-to-door solicitation.

The council also passed on Tuesday a resolution – 2020-3 – adding some fees to the town’s fee schedule for town services. The new fees are for animal licenses, VIN inspection, utility reconnect fee, late payment fee, plat filing fee and various community center use fees.

The new fee schedule, which Nebel called “a living document,” removes the commercial fee from the community center fee schedule, explaining that it was sometimes difficult to distinguish between a private event and a commercial event. The only two fees are $35 per day for a community or government event and $125 per day for a private event – plus deposits. The council modified the motion on the resolution to add an alcohol deposit for community/government and private events, when alcohol is to be served.

The commercial event fee was $250 per day plus a kitchen use fee of $75 and deposits.

The council discussed a possible fee for use of the center’s kitchen as a commercial kitchen.

In other business June 9:

• The council passed on second reading an ordinance (988) repealing language in the town code regarding an existing sidewalk construction or replacement loan fund. Kitchen explained at the May meeting that the town cannot give loans with general fund money under the state constitution, though citizens can form special improvement districts to carry out street or sidewalk projects.

• Nebel presented to the council the amount of the Final Proof of Loss settlement amount from the Wyoming Association of Risk Management for hail damage claims dating back to 2018. The final damage total was $73,632.17 minus a deductible if $5,000 for a total claim settlement of $68,632.17 — $43,723.13 for vehicle damage and $29,909.04, minus the deductible. The council voted unanimously to accept the settlement offer from WARM.

• The council voted to approve a two-year agreement with the federal Bureau of Reclamation for the town’s fiscal obligations regarding the Shoshone Municipal Pipeline.

• AJ and Michael Montanez were approved as substitute cleaners for the town swimming pool after a request from pool cleaner Deanna Ott.

• Nebel reported that the town has received the $5,000 from WBI Energy Transmission as the settlement for concrete removal and sidewalk repair at the community center. The council voted to accept the settlement.

• The council approved two resolutions for local bars during Mustang Days. Resolution 2020-5 allows open containers outside the bars within a fenced area on June 26 and 27 during operating hours, and Resolution 2020-6 allows a 24-hour opening from 6 a.m. June 27 to 6 a.m. June 28.

• The council voted to authorize the use of the Four Corners Bar liquor license to cater a beer garden at the Lovell Rodeo Grounds contingent upon approval by the Big Horn County Commissioners since the rodeo grounds are not in the town limits.

The council scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday, June 23, at noon.

By David Peck