Pigeons causing controversy in neighborhood, city wants them removed

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- You've probably seen them soaring above Brackett Avenue in Eau Claire for years.

But it turns out those pigeons are at the center of a neighborhood controversy.

If the owner doesn't get his property up to code he could be forced to pack up 100 pigeons.

The Eau Claire City Council will have a hearing on rezoning the property Monday night.

The owner of the pigeons tells WEAU that changing it from commercial to residential will allow him to keep them.

But a deal may not be reached with the city until everything is brought up to code.

Lawrence Kloss said he got his first homing pigeons about three years ago.

“It was a hobby. I figured I would do this when I retired I would have something to do,” Kloss said.

He soon put up a small building in his backyard to house birds but didn't think a permit was necessary.

“Everybody loves the birds, I’ve had people stopping in all the time wanting to see them, they're also like a pet almost in a way, they're very tame,” Kloss said.

But not everyone loves the feathered friends.

The city said it has gotten complaints from neighbors.

One of them came from American Realty World, which shares a fence with the pigeon home.

“When they're flying over, they dump on our vehicles and of course they would be on our customers and clients as well. We have to have our cars washed all the time to get rid of it,” said Lavern Stewart, a realtor in the building.

Kloss said other birds in the area are to blame for the mess next door.

The planning and health departments have been warning him to get the property up to snuff or it will be declared a public nuisance.

“Totally totally harassment, there's no reason for it,” Kloss said.

City Council Member Kathy Mitchell said Kloss has been given enough notice and rezoning won't unruffle the city's feathers.

“The city wants him to remove the loft. He can remove the loft and then he can come back and ask for the property to be rezoned and he can put up a legal loft and he can keep his pigeons,” Mitchell said.

Kloss said he realizes he may have to part with his pigeons.

“I would be very sad about it because I really enjoy them,” Kloss said.

The hearing takes place Monday at City Hall at 7 p.m.

A vote on rezoning the property takes place Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Mitchell said she doesn't expect a vote will take place until the property is brought up to code.

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