South St. Paul is allowing residents to expand their flocks of backyard chickens from four to eight.

The City Council on Tuesday added an amendment to a city ordinance giving residents the chance to add more hens to their coops.

Residents with properties that are a half-acre or less can keep four chickens, while residents with larger properties can keep eight. The amendment also prohibits brightly colored or electric fencing. The city can issue a maximum of 20 licenses.

Since creating the ordinance in 2015, the city has issued seven licenses. To apply for a chicken license, property owners must receive consent from 75 percent of their next door neighbors and pay a $75 fee.

South St. Paul chicken owners do not to reapply for a new license, said Peter Hellegers, city planner. They can simply amend their original license.



City Council could OK miniature pigs

Eagan residents may soon be able to keep miniature pigs in their backyards, as long as the pigs are spayed or neutered and there’s a fenced area for them to live in.

After a request from a resident, the City Council has asked staff to prepare an ordinance that would allow the creatures on single-family residential properties that have obtained a permit. The existing rules for pig-keeping require at least 5 acres zoned for agricultural use.

A public hearing will be scheduled after the ordinance is prepared — a process that could take two or three months, said communications director Tom Garrison.

Miniature pigs have been in vogue in recent years, but have also been abandoned or euthanized at high rates when they’ve grown larger than their owners expected. Though there are more than a dozen breeds classified as miniature pigs, in some cases breeders have passed off piglets, underfed or inbred pigs as miniature pigs.

The American Mini Pig Association classifies the animals by height and age, rather than by popular labels such as “micro” or “teacup.” According to the association, the pigs can grow up to 20 inches tall.



Soil district plans for shake-up

The Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is changing how long its board members can hold office and which areas they represent, in response to a new state law requiring redistricting for metro-area soil and water conservation districts.

Dakota County’s five districts will be split up by population rather than municipal boundaries, and representatives will serve both two-year and four-year terms.

The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources has to approve the changes before they can move forward. SWCD District Manager Brian Watson said he expects the board to sign off within the next month.

Currently, all terms are four years but staggered so representatives are running at different times. All five district positions will appear on the 2016 general election ballot.



Women’s group members honored

Four members of the Savage area chapter of Women of Today, a national community service group, received national and state recognition from the organization at its winter convention in Brooklyn Park.

Cheryl Swenson, the group’s president, Julie Briggs, Brittney Severson and Joann Brinker-Mannelly were honored for their volunteer efforts.

The group recently wrapped its fall and winter project with the organization Sole Hope. Members hosted shoe-cutting parties, where they gathered old jeans to cut and supply material for shoes to send to children in Uganda and prevent foot-related diseases.

Briggs and Brinker-Mannelly received presidential pins for dedication to the local chapter. Swenson received a presidential medallion and pin. Severson received a trimester award for chairing the Sole Hope project.



Workshop for seniors on decluttering

Burnsville seniors can get a jump on spring cleaning during a one-hour workshop focused on decluttering.

The workshop include advice from city workers on how to restore order to homes, as well as tips on how to let go of possessions. Participants will also get information on local resources that will take stuff for free — or even pay for some items.

The free workshop will be at 10 a.m. March 9 at Burnsville City Hall. Register by March 4 by calling 952-895-4500 or visiting