COLUMBIA — The Columbia Board of Health, after months of discussion and deliberation, failed to agree upon a recommendation to City Council on the proposed urban chicken ordinance.
The proposal would have allowed residents to raise chickens but require them to confine the birds in coops or fenced-in areas and obtain consent from owners of adjoining property.
As the board continued to deliberate details such as health risks and revocation of permits, they voted down the ordinance draft after the portion requiring neighbor permission was removed.
Although the Board of Health could not come to agreement, the council will most likely move ahead on a chicken ordinance, said Nathan Voris, recently-appointed Board of Health chairman.
The council asked the Board of Health for its recommendations, but because no agreement could be reached, the council will have to weigh both sides of the discussions that occurred among Board of Health members.
Stephanie Browning, Public Health and Human Services director, said the split on the board could reflect the split in the population of Columbia about the issue.
While some board members would not vote for an ordinance that did not require neighbor permission, other members simply did not think chickens have a place in urban areas at all.
Many board members made the connection between former board chairman David Sohl’s absence and the failure of the proposed chicken ordinance. Sohl wrote the recommended chicken ordinance but was not reappointed to the board.
Although the Board of Health is not sending any final recommendation to the council, the issue is “not going to die,” Voris said.