Village board no longer wants to regulate pigeons
By Kevin Boneske
HOBART – The village board agreed last month it doesn’t want to regulate pigeons in Hobart.
The board agreed to have Village Administrator Aaron Kramer bring back an ordinance amendment to no longer require a permit to keep pigeons.
Kramer said he brought the matter before the board after Director of Planning and Code Compliance Todd Gerbers was contacted by a resident about keeping pigeons.
“This was actually for his children to have in 4-H,” Gerbers said.
Kramer said he was informed by Ashwaubenon Village Manager Joel Gregozeski about a permit being required to keep pigeons there, but no other local municipal administrators on a recent Zoom meeting indicated they required permits.
The Ashwaubenon village board passed an ordinance amendment last September allowing up to 12 pigeons to be kept with a permit having an annual fee and limiting the number of permits issued in the village to four.
The amended ordinance also grandfathered permits keeping more than a dozen pigeons until those permits are terminated.
After contacting former longtime Hobart Clerk-Treasurer Mary Smith, who is now a part-time deputy clerk for the village, Kramer said she informed him she never issued a permit for pigeons.
“There’s no record of it, but when you go to the permit file in our system, you see what’s on there, and someone in 2019 changed it to a chicken/pigeon license, or at least that’s what it shows,” he said. “It was moved to that account… but nobody here remembers adding pigeons to it.”
Kramer said Gerbers asked about how to issue a permit, because nobody has ever drafted one in Hobart and a permit couldn’t be found.
“Don’t worry about it,” said Trustee David Dillenburg. “We probably don’t have a fine for it either.”
Regarding Hobart having an ordinance requiring a permit with an annual fee of $20 to keep pigeons in the village, Kramer quoted former President Calvin Coolidge, who stated it is more important to get rid of a bad law than pass a good one.
To enforce the ordinance, Kramer said Gerbers would have to check pigeon coops.
“If you look at the ordinance, I know there’s an issue about them being clean and sanitary and all that stuff,” Kramer said. “First of all, no offense to Todd, but I don’t where his job resume (says anything about him being able to) inspect pigeon coops.”
Gerbers said he is aware of only one pigeon coop in the village with another being requested.
Kramer said he doesn’t know whether the existing coop is in violation of the village code or was grandfathered in and allowed without a permit.
He said Gerbers would welcome the village ordinance regulating pigeons being taken off the books.
“If you’re OK with this, we’re going to come back with an ordinance change,” Kramer said. “We’re going to stop regulating pigeons. Not a big thing, but again, I don’t know why it was here in the first place.”