Rhinelander city council approves new chicken ordinance - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Rhinelander city council approves new chicken ordinance

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RHINELANDER (WAOW) -

People in Rhinelander can now keep chickens in their backyard. The city council passed the ordinance Monday.

Some are excited about the change, but not everyone is supportive.

Jen Van Order will soon have chickens next to her garden.

"I wanted to have chickens and a lot of other places, Antigo, Eagle River, they've all got ordinances that allow chickens," said Jen Van Order.

Monday, the Rhinelander City Council decided to allow backyard chickens.

"Being able to go out in your own backyard and get organic eggs any time that you want or need them is definitely an awesome thing," said Van Order.

Van Order spent more than three months working on the new "chicken ordinance" with Rhinelander's fire chief.

"We sat down and really took a lot of what other communities had and put it into our ordinance, plus added a few other safeguards," said Terry Williams, Rhinelander Fire Chief.

The fire chief said there are some requirements including food and upkeep.

A new permit costs $75, then $25 a year after that.

Officials said the cost covers a permit for building a coop, keeping up to four hens and notifying neighbors.

"We could have two people that want to keep chickens in their yard, or we could have two hundred people that want to keep chickens in their yard," said Williams.

But this decision was not unanimous.

"I mean I don't want chickens living next to me and neither did anyone else I spoke to," said Tom Gleason, Rhinelander City Council Alderman.

Still, Van Order said she's excited.

"We have to submit the plans first, then build our coop, then our application has to be approved, then we can move the chickens in," said Van Order.

She hopes to have them in her backyard by spring.

The fire chief said people can say they don't want chickens in their neighborhood. If that happens, he said the issue goes to a city committee where they try to find a solution.

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