The La Grande City Council work session centered around farm animals Monday night as the councilors talked about amending land development codes.

In Article 11 of the land development code, the city allows those within the Hillside Development Residential and Rural Residential zones to have animals such as horses, cows, goats, sheep and poultry if the land is a certain square feet.

At Monday night’s work session, the council considered allowing rabbits, ducks and/or chickens (no roosters) in the city’s other zones.

Ultimately, the council leaned toward not changing the amendment.

Ducks and chickens entice dogs, Councilor Justin Rock pointed out. Barking dogs are already a common complaint within city limits. If there are chickens or ducks next door to a home with dogs, that will only add to the problem.

“You’d be creating more of an issue,” Rock said.

City Manager Robert Strope added that the grandfather clause may hinder the council later.

“If you make a change to the land development code, you can’t take it back once it’s enacted,” he said.

If the code is changed in the future, anyone who has these animals on their land would be able to keep them.

During the work session, the council also talked about allowing 4-H and FFA students to have livestock in residential zones 1, 2, and 3 for the duration of their projects.

The proposed change would allow the students to submit permits to be approved by the Community Development Department director or planner. The property where their livestock would be located would need to be a minimum of 10,000 square feet, and the student would have to provide proof that they are duly enrolled in the seasonal livestock project.

The council did not seem to be in favor of this amendment change either. However, the meeting was a work session and an official decision will be made in a city council meeting.

An amended code proposal regarding marijuana facilities was not part of Monday’s discussion. The council will hold a work session next week to talk more in depth about this topic on March 19.

Finally, the council proposed adding a full section to the land development code regarding “cottage home development,” which refers to tiny homes.

See complete story in Wednesday's Observer