El Dorado residents will soon be able to have their own farm-fresh eggs, without the farm.
The El Dorado City Commission approved an ordinance Wednesday allowing residents to have up to six permitted fowl without a permit in residential areas.
The ordinance is comparable to Lawrence’s with some language from other city’s ordinances combined to make El Dorado’s new ordinance, which matches the city’s municipal code as it pertains to animals. The ordinance does not allow roosters.
Commissioner David Chapin asked about chickens that are running around loose in town.
He was told they will be subject to the same regulations governing animals at large for cats or dogs. There also will be criteria for proper veterinarian care.
Brad Meyer, assistant public works director, said there are requirements for keeping them pinned up and if a chicken roosts in a tree and comes down in a neighbor’s yard, it will be handled the same as if a dog chewed through a fence.
Herb Llewellyn, city manager, said it will create more work for city staff.
“In my short time as a commissioner I’ve never heard more excitement about anything,” said Commissioner Chase Locke. “Other than concern about roosters I haven’t heard any complaints.”
“At least the opportunity is there for the people,” said Commissioner David Chapin.
Mayor Mike Fagg asked where ducks fit in with this because of the ducks at East Park and how the city got by with having a bunch of ducks running around.
“They’re not ours,” Meyer said. “We have transients that come in. Unfortunately, that is a bunch of Easter presents gone bad down there. We do not own those ducks.”
Fagg said he thought there were too many ducks down there because of the droppings and some of the big ones attack little kids.
Meyer said they had received numerous calls from constituents when the have tried to remove some of the ducks. The residents were not happy with it.
The city has thinned the duck population twice down there and currently have direction from the city manager to thin it again. The problem is it takes eight to nine employees all day to round up the ducks.
“We killed all those fish because there were too many ducks on that pond,” Llewellyn said. “The problem is the ducks don’t want to move.”
They also have to find someone to take the ducks.
The ordinance was approved 5-0. People will begin to have chickens once the ordinance is published, which is expected to be later this week.
Page 2 of 4 - In other business, the commission:
• approved the bid of Barkley Construction in the amount of $56,700 for the construction of a sidewalk along Sixth Avenue from Metcalf to Orchard.
Commissioner Bill Young asked about the sidewalk to the new middle school, voicing his opinion that sidewalk was more important.
Llewellyn said the city crew will construct that sidewalk after they complete the one on Haverhill.
• approved the bid of Barkley Construction in the amount of $158,795.40 for construction of sidewalks in the southeast quadrant.
• appointed Fagg, Locke and City Clerk Tabitha Sharp as voting delegates and Interim Police Chief Curt Zieman, Assistant City Engineer Scott Rickard and Human Resources Director Marci Fugarino as alternates for the League of Kansas Municipalities business meeting.
• approved a resolution to apply for the 2014 Kansas Moderate Income Housing Program from the Kansas Housing Resource Corporation. This is something the city and El Dorado Inc. has been working on for possible grant funding for moderate housing. The state offered $2 million through the program and asked cities and counties to apply for it. Inc. sent out requests for proposal for housing. They had two applications, but both proposals needed to be modified to make them as likely as possible to be funded, something that is still being worked on.
Fagg asked what the cost was to the city and was told the city will have to administer the project and waive building permits and sewer and water tap fees.
One of Fagg’s concerns was the condition of the streets, depending on where these would be located, and what more traffic might do.
He was told one project was on Walnut and another on Gordy. The one on Walnut had to sign a development agreement that if a new street moves forward they cannot protest it.
“It’s really a great program,” Rickard said. “There are really not very many strings attached to this.”
Young said after serving on the housing committee, he was surprised how few three bedroom, two bath houses were available.
Chapin agreed, saying the city loses a lot of residents because of not having good housing stock.
“We are fortunate we have developers getting involved in this and are willing to take the risk to get some more units in town,” Young said. “I’m very grateful to those developers who are ready, willing and able to take that risk in El Dorado and help us with our housing stock.”
The new houses will rent for about $1,000 a month.
• issued a proclamation for National Assisted Living Week.
Page 3 of 4 - • discussed what constitutes an executive session before going into executive session.
“Before we do this, let’s talk about it,” Fagg said. “Discussing trade secrets. What we’re going to be talking about is water, right?”
Llewellyn said it was for land acquisition and legal matters.
“The biggest thing is the person who will defend the commission on a violation of law is the city attorney,” Llewellyn said.
He said the city attorney understood what to be discussed was allowed by state open meetings law.
Fagg was concerned when they say trade secrets, they only meant private corporations.
Llewellyn said it was defined by an attorney general opinion as meaning subject to debate.
“I am not and I don’t think you are the right person to argue that,” Llewellyn told Fagg. “I think it is left to legal counsel to determine.”
“In the spirit of openness I don’t know why we can’t discuss this from right out here,” Fagg responded.
“Nothing prevents the commission from discussing anything in open session,” Llewellyn said. “It is prudence and good judgement. You can do it in open session if that is what the commission wants. The question is should we do it.”
Fagg said he had talked to two other attorneys about the topic.
Llewellyn said what Fagg asked them was different than what he planned on talking about.
“What you asked them you did not ask me,” Llewellyn said. “You did that independent of staff. You did that independent of the city attorney. The fact you got a different answer when you described a problem is to be expected.”
Fagg said it was not to be expected.
“I know what questions were asked,” he said. “There are 15 items you can go into executive session for.”
Young asked if the commission was covered to discuss what they had planned in executive session and City Attorney Jim Murfin said in his opinion the legal matters and preliminary acquisition of land components were covered.
Young then made a motion to go into executive session, which was seconded.
“If we are talking about preliminary land acquisition how can we go from three questions from Wichita to a letter we sent them that I haven’t seen a copy of to talking about land acquisition?” Fagg asked.
Badwey made a motion to call the vote, which was seconded.
Page 4 of 4 - Llewellyn said that was not what he was going to talk about and the commission voted 4-1 with Fagg opposed.
• head from a resident concerned the wrong letters had been sent out about a rezone on South Main. He said he talked to the planning and zoning department, but had not heard more. The city said it was a mistake and they had contacted all of the affected property owners and did not hear any opposition to the change. The resident said no one asked him if he had a concern. City staff is going to look into if they need to do more.