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Bunnies for Easter dinner? City Council hears case for rabbit sales at farmers market

WORTHINGTON -- During the regular meeting Monday night, the Worthington city council took action on loans, awarded a bid, adopted a Complete Streets policy and heard information regarding animal control ordinance.

Donna Pueppke and Bill Baker presented information to the council regarding the sale of animals at a farmer's market at the Northland Mall.

The two requested a change in ordinance to allow for "urban food sources," including breeding of rabbits for meat, which is also addressed in the ordinance.

"They've sold some poultry, rabbits and I think they've sold a few goats and that sort of thing," Baker told the council. "It's been done for a long time. I've talked myself to somebody and I've talked to the city a couple years ago, and at that time, what I was told was as long as the animals were in town for marketing purposes, it was OK. That's why we continued to do it."

However, someone had told Pueppke she wasn't allowed to sell animals anymore.

"I think the percentage of animals sold at the farmer's market is pretty small compared to animals bought on farms and brought back to butcher," Baker said. "The reason that people do that is because they pay the same price to buy an animal and have it processed, but they don't want to do it because it's not part of their culture. They want to do it themselves."

Council member Mike Kuhle asked about the types of animals.

"The way I do things is I ask if they have a place they can butcher them outside of the city limits," Pueppke said. "If they say yes, I release the animal. If not, I tell them to come back in a couple hours when I'm getting ready to leave and they can follow me home."

Kuhle also asked about animal waste, which Pueppke said there were bylaws which addressed that specific issue.

Animals that have been sold include goats, rabbits, chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese.

"We all like rabbit, I think, I mean most people like rabbit, they go hunting for rabbit," Pueppke said.

She explained the animals were for butchering.

"They like things the way we don't like it," Pueppke said. "They like the insides, the like the feet, they like the head."

After hearing the information, the council decided to table the issue for another meeting, with the possibility of expanding and changing the ordinance.

Director of Engineering Dwayne Haffield brought forth a policy for Complete Streets, which was adopted.

"When we start a new street project or major reconstruction, we don't just want you to think just cars," Haffield said. "We want you start thinking about all the other users that might be there and think of terms that we are going to encourage other uses."

The policy will make the council think about pedestrians and other users when building and reconstructing streets.

"It's not meant to be extremely aggressive on going right out of the shoot," Haffield said. "It definitely is going to take an adjustment on how we build the road."

The policy isn't necessarily looking backward, but to think differently when moving forward with new streets and developments.

"I think as we grow a little bit with this and get a little better idea and get some time behind us, we'll get a sense of how this is settling in and we can talk about an implementation plan," Haffield said. "For right now, to me, it is telling us that when you do projects, you have to take your blinders off. You have to start looking at something besides the cars."

In other news, the council approved a contract to Robert L. Carr for wastewater treatment plant improvements. The total of the bid was $287,000, which was over the estimated amount.

The council also approved an on-sale liquor license for the Worthington Even Center. The center will be able to sell liquor on Sunday as well.

A loan for $68,400 was approved to Bioverse for a pouch machine to add additional capacity of one of its products.

Living Life Adult Day Center, which was loaned $80,000 previously, will have payments deferred for three months.

Daily Globe Community Content Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.