LESHARA – The chair-man of the Leshara Village Board of Trustees turned in his resignation Tuesday evening.
Jason Camenzind an-nounced at the start of the regular monthly meeting that he was resigning, effec-tive immediately. After presenting his letter of resignation, he left the village meeting room.
Camenzind told the Wahoo Newspaper Wednesday morning that his decision was based on personal reasons.
Following that an-nouncement Tuesday even-ing, the board appointed Melvina Ruhe-Lonfeldt as the new chairman.
A notice of open board position will be posted in town and an appointment to fill Camzendind’s seat for the remainder of his term is expected at the next meet-ing.
Despite the announcement that seemed to take the other board members by surprise, there was business to conduct and decision was made not to allow chickens in town.
The board had received a request several months ago from Ed and Charyl Lin-derman. Charyl Linderman again told the board last evening they wanted to have about 20 chickens for a short period of time. The plan was to raise them only until ready for butcher.
The problem was that Leshara’s current regula-tions and ordinances were deemed “clunky” and not clearly defined when it came to chickens.
Board Member Miranda Moisant-Hlavac was tapped at a June meeting to do re-search on what other com-munities have on the books.
This week, she told the board and the handful of Leshara residents gathered at the village hall that she looked at regulations in Omaha and Lincoln, where chickens are allowed, but those didn’t seem to best fit with a small town.
Regulations from other communities didn’t address the number of chickens allowed, pen requirements or specific space requirements – all items that were discussed at the June board meeting.
“They were either too lenient or didn’t pertain to a small town,” she said.
Moisant-Hlavac said she did find regulations from Cedar Rapids that seemed to fit the needs for Leshara and offered an initial draft to begin the discussion.
The Lindermans were in attendance to support the drafting of an ordinance to allow chickens, but that was not the case for other audience members.
Eric Smith said he lives not too far from the Linder-mans and had concerns from manure from the chickens as well as drainage issues in the area.
During flooding and water runoff events, he said contaminated water would flow over his property and over his domestic well.
“That water drains directly down to the bottom of my well, which is a sand pit well,” he said.
He said he would take legal action against the vil-lage if his drinking water well was endangered due to chickens.
Smith added that he felt allowing chickens in town would be a magnet for stray dogs and coyotes.
Marsha Sorensen also spoke against having chick-ens in town and offered environmental concerns as her reason.
Board Member Dennis Beers agreed that water drainage was a concern.
“All this would be fine and dandy if we were on flat land but we are not,” he added.
Moisant-Hlavac said that if the board wanted to con-sider allowing chickens, there could be conditions for coop and manure management.
After discussion contin-ued about what require-ments could be put in place, Board Member Dale Johnson daid the first decision really needed to be if the board even wanted to allow chickens.
“If we do not want to, this is all mute,” he said.
With a show of hands, the vote was 3-0 to not allow chickens.
Moisant-Hlavac abstained because she said he was “too far into this” with her research.