Survey says most support chickens

Sean C. Morgan

The Sweet Home City Council will likely consider an ordinance proposal in late July or August that will allow residents to keep chickens within the city limits on lots smaller than a half-acre.

The council’s Public Safety Committee received a copy of the results of a survey run on the city’s website.

Eighty of the 100 respondents supported passing an ordinance to allow residents to keep chickens.

Community Development Director Carol Lewis will write the ordinance proposal with City Attorney Robert Snyder.

She is looking at other animals and potential issues in the existing ordinance, she said.

“I think we might as well look at other things while we’re doing it.”

She listed regulations on rabbits as an example. Rabbits are also dealt with in the existing ordinance.

There haven’t been any recent issues with miniature animals, such as pigs, horses and goats; but that’s also an area that she plans to look at while developing the new ordinance proposal.

Within the survey on chickens, the city asked how many chickens should be allowed. The most common answer, 32 votes, was six. The second most common answer, nine votes, was for 12 chickens, and third, with eight votes, was five.

The majority, 58, said that chickens should not be allowed in front yards, compared to 31 who said they should be allowed in front yards.

Of 68 votes, 15 said chickens should be kept at least 5 feet from neighboring properties. Twelve said that chickens should be at least 10 feet from neighbors.

Sixty-three respondents said no roosters should be allowed, while 35 supported allowing roosters.

Sixty-four supported allowing chickens to be slaughtered, while 34 opposed allowing slaughter.

Seventy-nine said that the city should require chicken coops to be clean and in good repair, while 18 opposed regulations on coops.

Seventy-eight said that chickens should not be allowed to create a nuisance or disturb neighbors with noise, odor, damage or threats to the public health, while 20 supported no regulations.

Comments included:

– “This is no different than cats, dogs, kids, yards, houses, the people who are going to do the right thing will and the people who aren’t going to do the right thing won’t, and they won’t care what the rules are.”

“There seems to be no restrictions on dogs and cats, and they can create a big nuisance compared to cooped chickens.”

– “You allow streets to fall to crumbles, allow fire hydrants to be buried, allowed houses to collapse all on Fourth Avenue. Why worry about chickens?”

– “Chickens by nature are unsanitary and smell. It’s not something our family would appreciate having to live next to. If we did, we would have chosen an agricultural setting. They also draw flies and other pests. If allowed at all, they need to be substantially away from the neighbor’s property.”

– “People live in town because that’s what it is – town. If you want to have chickens or other ag animals, move to the rural part of the community outside of town.”

– “We have enough problems with dogs and cats. We don’t need chickens on city lots. Also, cats should have a leash law. No animal should be allowed to trespass on another person’s property.”

– “I think people should have the freedom to raise their own food. Not allowing people to raise chickens is like not allowing them to have a vegetable garden because it is ‘unsightly.’ I believe it is a very positive thing to promote any level of self-sustainability, and this is a great step.”

– “None – SH Taxpayer!”

– “My neighbors have five chickens. The odor on a hot summer day and the flies make our backyard unusable for barbecues.”

– “We are looking at moving to other towns that allow chickens on small lots. Please don’t force us to move and keep our tax dollars and let chickens be allowed.”

– “The city’s last survey was about attracting people to shop in Sweet Home. There’s also been a focus on tourism and beautifying/cleaning up the town. How is any of that possible if we become Hicksville?”

– “We are seriously considering moving to another city that does allow chickens. If you don’t want to lose our tax dollars, please vote in favor of chickens.”

– “I would like to emphasize that odor and noise regulation be enforced. I am in favor of chickens within the city limits.”

– “If they want to have chickens, move outside the city limits.”