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Mandan is considering allowing residents to raise chickens within city limits.

City Planner John Van Dyke said he’s received requests from people wanting to raise the poultry to benefit from farm-fresh eggs.

“I probably get an inquiry about once a month, maybe twice on a heavy month,” he said. “This is also something I read through in my predecessor’s notes, indicating that chickens were something he experienced, as well, as far as an inquiry.”

On Tuesday night, the city commission approved the first reading of an ordinance that would allow up to four chickens per lot, with several restrictions to mitigate negative effects on neighbors.

Restrictions on the number of birds allowed would control the quantity of feces and limit odors, according to city staff. To combat noise, roosters would not be allowed.

Chickens, coops and runs would be restricted to the rear or side yard of residential properties, obscured from street view.

Coops no more than 8 feet high would have to be no closer than 10 feet from the property line and no closer than 20 feet from an adjacent property dwelling.

A one-year revocable permit would be required, according to Van Dyke, who proposed a $100 fee for each permit.

“For me, personally, I have some concerns just about the oversight of this. Our planning department is not meant to be inspecting chicken coops,” Commissioner Amber Larson said. 

Mayor Tim Helbling said, “North Dakota is such a heavy agricultural state, and I think people already have them and we’re going to be called out to enforce the chicken ordinance whether we have one or not.”

Larson and Commissioner Dennis Rohr cast dissenting votes. Final action will be taken later.

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Reach Cheryl McCormack at 701-250-8264 or