Council says no to 4-H farm animals being kept in city limits

Rules that, for the most part, keep farm animals outside the city limits of Huntington will remain in place.

Members of the Huntington Common Council voted 5-2 on Tuesday, Oct. 30, to make no changes to its animal control ordinance. The ordinance requires that anyone keeping animals that are commonly considered farm animals to have a minimum of five acres of land, a lot size uncommon inside the city limits.

Councilman Jim Long, acting on behalf of a constituent who was raising chickens, wanted to change the ordinance to allow city residents to raise animals for 4-H on any size lot.

"Would it be reasonable to exempt 4-H animals?" asked Councilman Greg Davis, who voted with Long to change the ordinance. "If you receive a complaint, they would have to be removed."

Davis and Long failed to win the support of their fellow council members.

"I think we'd be opening up a can of worms," Councilman Paul Pike said.

In other business:

• The council voted 6-1, with Davis voting no, to make changes in reporting requirements for industries that discharge into the city's sewage treatment system.

Davis wanted to table the proposal for further study, saying he was concerned that more stringent reporting requirements might give some industries reason to move elsewhere.

Anthony Goodnight, the city's director of public works and engineering services, said the new rules, which could require monthly reports on the amount and type of sewage being placed into the treatment system, would affect only three or four of the city's largest industrial users. The new rules also bring the city's regulations in line with state and federal environmental requirements, he said.

"They're making a report already; this is more frequent," Chapman said. With the requirements already contained in state and federal regulations, he said, "there's not much we can do about it."

• Davis questioned costs involved with the renovation of the Condit Street fire station as the Huntington Fire Department closes its downtown station and consolidates equipment and manpower into the remaining stations on Condit Street and Etna Avenue.

Davis noted that the council had authorized $225,000 for the work, at the request of Fire Chief Tim Albertson. However, Davis said, he has seen an estimate for renovations to the Condit Street station totaling just $65,000.

Mayor Brooks Fetters agreed to ask Albertson to address the council at its next meeting to explain the apparent discrepancy.

Davis, however, earned a sharp rebuke from Fetters when he sought to decrease the number of paid full-time firefighters from 35 to 30, with the possibility of augmenting the paid firefighters with five volunteers.

"That is an administrative issue," Fetters told Davis, adding that council has no authority to "dictate the size of staffing."

Davis responded that the council could force the reduction in manpower by reducing appropriations for firefighter pay.