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Council opts to take no action on allowing chickens

The Worthington City Council on Monday night opted to take no action on making any sorts of amendments to city code that would permit chickens within city limits.

City resident Tony Vetsch had made a presentation before council members during their March 13 meeting that asked for consideration of a change. It was pointed out in a memo to council included with Monday's agenda that allowing chickens in the city would require multiple changes in city code, and concerns regarding potential permits and enforcement would need to be addressed.

Councilwoman Alaina Kolpin mentioned that she's aware that many city residents currently aren't registering dogs with the city as required and questioned if the city had the manpower to enforce not to just regulation of chickens but related code. She added that no one had told her of their support for the change.

Councilman Chad Cummings, while praising Vetsch's presentation, questioned any economic benefits raising chickens would ultimate bring as opposed to paying for eggs at current grocery store costs. He said raising chickens in the city would in essence be "a neat hobby" that could cause problems when it comes to both enforcement as well as any unexpected incident during which chickens got free.

Also Monday, the council approved the first reading of an amendment to city code that removes the requirement that auto repair shops must screen all inoperable vehicles behind a 6-foot screening fence. The reading passed 4-1, with Cummings voting against.

As part of a relatively light agenda Monday, council members approved a construction services proposal that will allow Bolton & Menk to oversee construction and administration of the Worthington Liquor Store parking lot project.

The proposed cost for these services is estimated at $23,500 and is based on the master services agreement the city has in place with the engineering firm. Beltline Concrete was awarded the bid for the work back in February.

Also Monday, the council approved plans and specifications from Bolton & Menk pertaining to the reconstruction of Second Avenue from 10th Street to 12th Street. The project will provide a two-lane roadway with 10-foot parallel parking (50-foot total width) and 10-foot concrete sidewalks on both sides of the street. The project also includes storm sewer reconstruction, the reconstruction of sanitary services and the watermain fire service to the Center for Active Living. Council members authorized that bids be received at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 3 and considered at the May 8 council meeting.

Also approved was an annual fee of $250 per team for the Worthington Soccer League for use of soccer fields at Buss Field. The league will also be responsible for cleanup of the facilities in a timely manner and may use the restroom facilities at the field. The fee represents a 25% increase in cost from last year,

In a non-action item Monday, it was also noted that the city has submitted a grant application for Transportation Alternatives funding to fund the construction of a trail from Second Avenue to Trunk Highway 60. This section of trail will connect the exiting trail located on the east side of Okabena Lake by the dam to the existing trail on Trunk Highway 60 at the Nobles Street intersection. The trail is identified as East Okabena Lake Trail.

The trail would go under the Union Pacific Railroad using the existing abandoned trestle by the JBS Fieldhouse. It would connect to Sherwood Street going east to the soccer fields and continue east along the north side of the East Okabena Lake bed along Charles Avenue over to Nobles Street, and then connect to the exiting trail along Trunk Highway 60. The grant would cover 80% of the construction cost up to $592,000, with the remaining cost of $293,000 being covered by local funding. The engineering costs for this project are estimated at $220,000, which is also a local cost.

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