Reynoldsburg News

Backyard chickens to be debated in Reynoldsburg

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Whether Reynoldsburg residents will be allowed to raise chickens in their backyards will be on the Community Development Committee's June 6 agenda.

Councilwoman Leslie Kelly, who chairs the committee, said she will be meeting with council clerk Nancy Frazier and city attorney Jed Hood to make sure the proper procedures are in place to allow the practice.

The issue of raising backyard chickens was brought up during a May 9 city council meeting by resident Richard Boone, who said he and his family want to raise chickens in their backyard but had found city code is unclear on the subject.

He found in the city's ordinance on "Keeping Wild Or Exotic Animals" does not specifically mention chickens or domestic poultry.

Boone asked if city officials would consider discussing the issue and agree to amend the ordinance to include chickens or domestic poultry.

The issue caught the attention of another resident, Matt Jorgenson, of 7412 Bryden Road, who said he used to raise chickens but stopped after discovering the city's ordinance might not allow it.

"When I first tried to do it, I had similar frustrations trying to figure out in the ordinances if they were specifically prohibited or permitted," Jorgenson said.

"There are certain types of pets that are listed and there's certain types of farm animals that are prohibited. Chickens weren't mentioned, as far as I recall," he said.

Jorgen said he would like to see clarification on the issue because keeping chickens in an urban area is a trend and he would like to work at forming a club with others who are also interested in raising chickens.

Kelly said she thinks allowing people to raise chickens in their backyards is a great idea.

"I would like to be able to allow people to raise backyard chickens, but I would like for it to be regulated where we're regulating the number of chickens, how they would be contained, and things like that," she said.

"Personally, I have no problem with it as long as we can regulate it. I wouldn't want somebody to have a chicken farm in their backyard," she said. "But like there are people who have rabbit hutches, if you have egg-laying hens and you have them kept in a solid structure and they're maintained, I don't have a problem with that."

Kelly said allowing people to raise chickens would not only bring them closer to the food chain, it could also be educational and fun for families.

"There have been some people that have said they don't think we should do that because how are we going to regulate that; who's going to enforce it; will they need a permit?" Kelly said.

She said bringing the issue up for discussion would also be a good opportunity for residents to provide their input and maybe raise ideas the city might not be considering.

"I like the idea from Mr. Jorgenson having a backyard chicken club, again, you're bringing the community together in a positive way. Just like we have the community garden, it would just be another opportunity for that," Kelly said. "I think the more you can get your community involved in a positive manner is a good thing."

dowen@thisweeknews.com

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