Tuesday, March 14, 2017

What you may not know: Week of March 13

The Appleton Common Council is likely to have a very busy regularly scheduled-meeting on Wednesday night, in addition to a rescheduled committee meeting:

Municipal Services Committee, Wednesday, 6 pm

The agenda for this week's rescheduled Municipal Services Committee meeting contains an information item that will be of local interest for many residents of the 13th district: The tentative schedule for this summer's reconstruction of County Highway JJ between French Road and Ballard Road.

This is a county project, so the city does not have approval over the schedule. They have, however, provided us with the following estimates:
  • From now through early April there are likely to be daytime restrictions on Highway JJ as utilities are relocated to make way for the project.
  • From early April through early May the focus will be on "Stage 1" of the project, which is a stormwater pond at the northeast corner of JJ and Lightning Drive. Daytime restrictions on JJ are listed as "possible" during this window.
  • In early May, the county will close the intersection of JJ and Lightning to reconstruct it and its approaches. JJ traffic will be detoured back out to Highway 41 via Ballard Road and County Highway N. The north entrance/exit to North High School will remain open.
  • On June 8 the remaining portion of JJ (from the school driveway to Ballard Road) will be closed, and no access to any abutting properties off of Highway JJ will be available.
  • All roadways are expected to be reopened for the Labor Day weekend and first day of school in September.
As always, all of these timelines are tentative and depend on a variety of factors.

Speaking of estimated timelines, at 7 pm or as soon as is feasible following the conclusion of the aforementioned committee meeting the common council will hold our regularly-scheduled meeting to discuss topics including the following:

Urban chickens

After several months of discussion, last week the Board of Health finally voted on a resolution calling for Appleton to allow residents to have up to four hens on their property, and they split a 3-3 vote. The item comes to council this week as a recommendation for denial, but council will have the final word on this issue.

I've heard from folks on both sides of this issue, but for me there are two notable points here: precedent and policy.
  • On the precedent side, I would point to the variety of cities (93 of the top 100 US cities and six of the eight largest cities in Wisconsin) that currently allow the keeping of hens. There are countless examples of cities that have taken this step and have not experienced issues with it. Green Bay and Oshkosh both allow chickens. The two cities have issued a combined 82 licenses and have never had to revoke one.
  • On the policy side, staff has made a very clear effort to create a proposed policy that would be in place to address any concerns that may come up, including noise, smell, rodents, predators, disease, escape and manure disposal. Every effort has been made to ensure that staff will have an opportunity to step in if someone's chickens become a problem.
Given these two facts, I see no reason to unfairly limit anyone who wishes to keep chickens and is willing to submit to the limitations of our proposed policy.

You can see all of this week's meeting agendas and the full schedule at the city's Legistar page.

Keeping you informed on issues that may impact you around the city is one of my primary goals as an alderman.
Good governance happens in the open, and I remain committed to raising awareness on the issues coming before us.

No comments:

Post a Comment