The Delligatti family who live in the Blackberry Farms neighborhood of Soddy Daisy came to the commission meeting Thursday night asking for clarification of the city’s codes relating to chicken coops and rabbit hutches. The couple recently received a letter from Codes Enforcement Officer Steve Grant about the animals that they keep for pets and educational purposes.
The couple currently has five chickens and three rabbits in enclosures in their yard which are 150 feet from their nearest neighbors.Their daughter is responsible for feeding and watering the animals. Mr. Delligatti, who works for the U.S. Agricultural Department, said that these animals have been shown at petting zoos and fairs and do not qualify as farm animals. He told the commissioners that he had researched the matter before the family moved into the neighborhood and found nothing written that would restrict keeping these animals. He also said that the neighborhood covenants had expired.
One of their neighbors spoke up saying that the covenants are still in effect and deal with farm animals. City Attorney Sam Elliott said the city cannot enforce those covenants. He will research the city’s laws to see how the R-1 zoning ordinance is written. He expects that the ordinance specifies what is allowed. Things not specified as acceptable would be restricted, he said. Another consideration would be if they are categorized as farm animals or pets.
This will be a zoing issue, said Mr. Elliott. The commissioners cannot override what is in the ordinance. If needed, one solution could be to rezone the property.
Mayor Rick Nunley announced that he has stepped down as chairman of the parks and recreation department and Pam Glaser will assume the position. She gave the commissioner a progress report from the last meeting concerning the soon to be acquired Big Soddy Creek Area.
To get some basic rules down about the property is the first thing that is needed, said Ms. Glaser. She is asking the commissioners and the public for input. Designation for the new park needs to be defined such as a wilderness area or natural area. Markers need to be posted that would specify that the land is part of the Soddy Daisy park system with the rules and regulations listed.
Signs should be posted stating policies such as that visitors assume all risks, no littering or dumping allowed and if pets and horses will be permitted. If guns and / or hunting will be allowed in the park needs to be determined since hikers do not stop using trails during hunting seasons. Ms. Glaser would like to have a version of the regulations in place by October for review by the commissioners and city attorney. Having a representative from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency at the next parks and recreation meeting was suggested as an effort to balance the needs of a lot of different users of the park.
City Manager Janice Cagle said that the closing of this land purchase should be completed by next week.
She asked for and received approval of $5,763 for repairs to a fire station. The police department is in the process of restructuring with some personnel changing duties. There will now be a full time codes enforcement office reporting to the police department, so the department was given permission to hire one more officer and one more full time dispatcher. “The more we grow, the more we need,” she said.The purchase of another police vehicle was approved that will replace one that was wrecked several months ago. Most of the cost has been reimbursed by insurance, they were told.
Fire Chief Mike Guffy reported that so far this year 965 calls have been answered which is 35 more than this same time last year. The response time averaged three to five minutes, he said.
Commissioner Gene Shipley told the commissioners that Lowe’s has donated mulch and their employees have volunteered to spread it for the city as a service project by the business. Approval from the commission was needed for this gift to be accepted, which one commissioner called “a no brainer.”
The Pumpkin Festival will take place Oct. 4. Scheduled are a 5K run and a 1K walk. Registration for these races ia available online at www.active.com . In addition to the races there will be food vendors and crafts available.