City Council reviews plan for urban chickens

Monday, December 21, 2009 | 9:25 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — The City Council reviewed a plan Monday night that will enable Columbia residents to own chickens for personal use.

The plan is designed to minimize impact on neighbors by specifying the number of chickens permitted and setting a minimum distance for pens away from nearby property.

The council will hold a work session to discuss changes to the plan before the measure is officially introduced at the second meeting in January 2010.

The plan places a limit of six hens per tract of land, with no roosters allowed. A pen could be placed no closer than 10 feet from a property line. From a nearby house, the distance would be 25 feet.

Complaints about odor, noise and waste disposal would be investigated by animal control officers.

Stephanie Browning, director of Columbia-Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services, said she researched more than 50 similar ordinances in the country before drafting  the plan.

“I’m not opposed to this," Browning said. "I think there are real benefits to having locally grown food.”

“I do worry about what door this opens next. It’s one thing to have chickens, but soon someone will want goats, and it will be one thing after another.”

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Ray Shapiro December 21, 2009 | 11:08 p.m.

(“I do worry about what door this opens next. It’s one thing to have chickens, but soon someone will want goats, and it will be one thing after another.”)
Yes. It does open the door for petitions for all kinds of live stock. If you accommodate chicken pluckers and fresh egg eaters, how will you ever be able say no to all the other "urban farmer wannabes" craving pygmy goat milk, fresh bacon from pot belly piglets, hamburgers from miniature cattle and baby doll sheep chops and freshly knitted Christmas sweaters.
Personally, I have a fondness for rattlesnake and fresh honey.
And, why stop at chickens? Some may prefer quail or pheasant.
Ostrich eggs are yummy.
And, just so I don't wind up eating crow, there are other cities taking on this urban hen-house craze.
Although, here's a video-story of how one town has fared, so far...

(Report Comment)
John Schultz December 22, 2009 | 9:42 a.m.

I believe the headline to be incorrect as the "urban chicken" ordinance was on the council's agenda as a first reading, during which the bill is not discussed or debated. That will occur at the next council meeting, which should be a hoot.

(Report Comment)

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