University City is considering changes to its city policy regarding animals, specifically chickens and dogs.
The council on June 24 held a first reading of a bill to amend the city’s regulations on the ownership of chickens. The city allows residents to own chickens, but currently only five permits for ownership are issued at any time, and permits are good for one year.
The bill allows an unlimited number of permits to be issued throughout the city, and the permits will be good for two years. The cost of the application fee would be reduced from $50 to $25. Residents will be allowed to keep a maximum of seven chickens. Owners will also be allowed to sell eggs that are produced. Applicants must meet requirements for available space and for property setbacks. Violations will be subject to a fine.
The council also held a first reading of a bill to make the city’s dog play area an official city park. The area located on Vernon Avenue was approved in 2002 as a “dog play area,” to be operated by volunteers. Since then, the area has been run by a volunteer group, U. City People for Dogs Inc., which had an agreement with the city. Members and a volunteer board of directors have operated the area.
The group has now expressed an interest that the city take control of the area and designate it as an official city park, ending the agreement between the city and People For Dogs. People for Dogs has expressed an interest in remaining a supporter of the park.
The city council held a joint meeting with the city’s plan commission during a discussion session. The groups met to discuss updates to the city’s comprehensive plan.
Clifford Cross, director of planning and development, said the comprehensive plan was written in 2005 and revised in 2007. He said an effort to make additional updates began in 2014, but died out in 2016 without any updates being made.
“It is my understanding that (the comprehensive plan from 2005) has become a branding document and not a real plan for the city,” Cross said. “We want to create one that is a road map for the city.”
He said one good aspect that came out of the 2005 plan was a design guideline for the Olive Boulevard corridor.
Cross said the comprehensive plan serves as a policy guiding document for the city. He said the update process would take about 18 months. The process would begin with the city sending out a request for proposals for a consultant to help write the plan and guide the process. Multiple public meetings would be held before possible approval by the city council. A timetable has yet to be set.