Got chickens?

I haven’t written about chickens for a few years. I have a nearby neighbor who raises chickens and another neighbor who has sheep.

Real estate is local and so are the regulations regarding backyard chickens. The regulations are at the city level. In some Minnesota cities, backyard chickens are not allowed. In others, they are only allowed on acreage.  In St. Paul chickens are allowed but a permit is needed and all neighbors within 150 feet of the are notified and 75% of those neighbors have to approve. The city has rules for the chicken coop size, height, and setback on the lot.

There are rules about how to store the chicken feed so that rodents don’t get into it and the chickens have to be cared for.

There are a lot of rules and information on the city web site.  There are chickens half a block from where I live and some sheep half a block away. I never hear the chickens but they get loose every now and then and I see then on the sidewalk.

If you have a complaint about chickens or other animals call:
Animal Control Center
1285 Jessamine Avenue West
Saint Paul, MN 55108

If you don’t live in St. Paul check with your city to see if chickens are allowed. Don’t forget that you can buy fresh eggs a the St. Paul farmer’s market.

Chicken photo by Sara Kerr

Got flu shot?

I got my flu shot even though I wear a mask and rarely get within six feet of anyone. I don’t get out nearly as much as I used to. Most of my work gets done in my home office.

I found this nifty little triangle thingy on the national CDC web site. I am referencing it because yesterday I was reading false information about the flue and how many people die of it.

SARS-CoV-2 has killed at least 210K in the US this year. The number may be closer to 275K and could climb to 400K by the end of 2020.  When the flu season hits we could be facing two pandemics or a “twindemic” except they are not identical twins. One of them is an evil twin that we still don’t know enough about.

The flue shot is 30 to 60% effective depending on the age of the recipient and the flu strain. People who do not get the flu will never know if the shot worked or not. I didn’t get the flu in 2019.

Hospitalization for the flu during a pandemic could be fatal.

You can not get the flu from a flu shot. The shot does not protect against COVID-19. It takes a couple of weeks for a flu shot to start working which is why it is best to get it before you get the flu.

I get my shot at a local drug store and it was free unless you count the thousands I pay for my crappy insurance each year.

What does this have to do with real estate? Everything because most people who get the flu and even those who do not get the flu live in real estate.

You are welcome!

From the CDC web site

Outdoor cats and extinction

A good day to be a white cat

I have a few neighbors who have “outdoor” cats. The cats have been fixed so they don’t reproduce. Some cat owners believe that having a cat neutered or spayed is all that it takes to make them a responsible cat owner.

The house cat has long been listed among the 100 most dangerous invasive species. They kill millions of birds and other small animals each year to the point of extinction. A cat is a pet when kept inside but once when outside it is a heartless killer.

Cats are likely killing more than 4 billion animals per year, including at least 500 million birds.

“Cat predation is one of the reasons why one in three American bird species are in decline,” said Dr. George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy [wildlife management institute]

There was a study that shows cats only bring home about 25% of what they kill. They eat some of what they kill and leave the rest.

Being a free-range cat in St. Paul is not good for the cat either. Here are some statistics for St. Paul:

  • 200 cats are killed annually in traffic
  • The life expectancy of a cat allowed to roam is only three to four years
  • Confined cats can live beyond 14 years
  • Over 1,200 cats are picked up each year by animal control
  • Roaming cats may be a nuisance by urinating and defecating in sandboxes and gardens
  • Outdoor cats are susceptible to injury or death from other predatory animals
  • Outdoor cats are predators to wildlife such as birds

It should be noted that it isn’t against the law in St. Paul to let your cat run free.

You are responsible for keeping your cat away from your neighbor’s property and for keeping rabies vaccinations current.

I miss cash machines

In the before time, before COVID-19 when I needed some cash I could walk a couple of blocks to the nearest cash machine and make a withdrawal.

I don’t need cash until I need cash. The machines I used to depend on are all behind locked doors in buildings that have been closed and locked up for months.

Rivercenter in downtown St. Paul was one of my go-to places for cash. The signs on the door say “Welcome” but the doors remain locked.

Most of what I buy I can pay for with my phone. Maybe someday we won’t need paper money at all but until then it would be nice if there were some cash machines in the area.

River Center – Downtown St. Paul

Housing cost burden by income

Yesterday I was reading the Metropolitan council housing policy plan. It tells me what I know already and that is that we do not have enough affordable housing. The demand will continue to grow as more people earn less money.

• People are paying too much for housing: At present, more than 282,000 low- and moderate-income households in the region are paying more than 30% of their household income on housing costs. Nearly 144,000 of those are paying more than half their income on housing.

• Needs are growing: Between 2020 and 2030, the region will add 37,400 low- and moderate-income households who will need additional affordable housing. For comparison, in the first three years of this decade, the region added just under 3,000 new affordable units, far under the need.

metro area housing costs
Housing costs in the metro area

There is a shortage of housing in general. The population has grown in the last decade and construction has not kept up with it. Some changes in zoning laws and deregulation may help ease the situation. Building more affordable housing in the suburbs might also help.

Also, see The number of people without housing continues to rise


Police departments are local

squade car
Saint Paul Police

There seems to be some confusion these days over police departments. The St. Paul police are a city department and not part o the federal government. They are funded and managed on the city level. The city council and the mayor are responsible for the police department.

Funding for police and fire comes from our property taxes.

How you vote in the city council or mayoral race can directly impact the police department. How you vote for president will not directly impact the police department.

If you want to learn more about the Saint Paul PD visit the Saint Paul PD web site.

Before each election look at the ballot ahead of time and get interested in the local elections.