Oregon approves permit to raise chickens in residential area

Kelly J. Kaczala

        Oregon City Council on Monday approved a Special Use Exception (SUE) permit that allows chickens and ducks to be raised for consumption at 1810 James Road.
        Applicants Karensa Harwick and David Blakemore, of 1810 James Road, requested the SUE in an R-2 Medium Density Residential District.
        The Oregon Planning Commission had unanimously voted to recommend approval at its meeting on November 17.
        James Gilmore, commissioner of building and zoning, said the property is located in the South Shore Park area.
        “It was recommended to be approved with conditions by the Planning Commission,” he said. “They want to revisit it within a year.”
        The city has previously considered dozens of chickens as a manageable number in similar applications, according to Mayor Mike Seferian. Roosters are taken out of the equation because they generate complaints.
         “We’ve been trying to be very consistent at how we issue these,” said Seferian. “The other condition about showing up within a year for final approval for a permanent SUE is something we have been doing because if someone is causing havoc in the neighborhood, we would reject that permit at that time or sooner. And we usually make that very clear to the applicants. They have been quite good so far and live up to what they say they will do.”
        The property has 15 chickens and five ducks. There is a shed and two additional chicken coops on site.
        Also at the meeting, council:
        •Authorized the city administrator, director of public service, chief of police, fire chief, commissioner of parks and recreation, commissioner of building and zoning inspection, finance director and other municipal administrators, subject to the written authorization of the mayor, to take bids on equipment, materials, supplies, maintenance agreements and insurance from time to time without the requirements for further legislation. The city has had the procurement policy for the last several years. It allows department heads to make purchases of up to $25,000 without approval by council, according to City Administrator Mike Beazley. He said the purchases usually come up at budget hearings. “It has to be budgeted and appropriated. It is consistent with state law and our charter.”
        City Councilman Tim Zale said he’s seen “some surprise purchases made in the past that were quite expensive that never even  came before us that weren’t in the budget.”
        “There’s been some items that have been purchased that raised some eyebrows that we knew nothing about and it wasn’t in the budget,” said Zale.
        “We try to make sure that doesn’t happen,” said Seferian. “And if we are going to make a large purchase, by all means we try to notify you what’s going on.”
        Beazley said anything over $25,000 needs an ordinance and to be passed by council.
        “But there is discretion in ways to spend money up to $25,000. It’s our job to catch those. If there’s something out of the ordinary, give us a heads up. We don’t like to surprise people,” said Beazley;
        •Passed a resolution recognizing Oregon Spring Fest as a community sponsored event authorized by the Oregon Growth Corporation;
        •Approved a revised pay classification schedule for seasonal employees. Beazley said it is an adjustment that is made most years when Ohio’s minimum wage increases. The state minimum wage increased to $8.80 per hour from $8.70 per hour on January 1;
        •Authorized the mayor, director of public service and finance director to sign a second change order with Speer Bros. for $188,621.83 due to additional work related to the Navarre Avenue Waterline Replacement – Phase 1 Project. Council approved a previous change order in December for $345,491.26. The total cost of the project is $2.6 million. The additional cost was due to a significant waterline leak within the Navarre Avenue project limits. To repair the leak, Speer Bros. installed two line stop valves to allow for the replacement of two 16-inch valves on the trunk waterline that are approximately 60 years old. Public Service Director Paul Roman said the replacement of the valves was “very expensive.”
        “We did it as part of this project to get it done. The leak was draining into a storm sewer. It was ongoing. It was a big repair. It’s something we couldn’t let go. We did have the money in this year’s budget,” said Roman;
        •Authorized the mayor and finance director to issue purchase orders to Motorola Solutions, Inc., over a five year period, at an estimated cost of $34,871.80 per year for the purchase of Watch Guard Body Cameras, an interview room camera system, warranties, and software and licensing, to be used in the Oregon Police Division. “We are trying to stay updated with our cameras,” said Seferian.
        Police Chief Brandon Begin said the division loses about one body camera per week, mostly due to battery issues. “We’re down to three spares we can rotate in and out,” he said.


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