City Manager Tom Markus said Thursday the city can handle allowing residents to keep a small number of chickens at their homes. “We think we can cobble together enough provisions to both allow it and protect the neighbors,” he said. The City Council will discuss the issue at its work session July 31.I'm all for warning neighbors that you want to create your own little coop, but I'm not terribly fond of allowing neighbors to have absolute veto power over one's urban chicken farm. But life is full of compromise, I guess.
In June, an advocacy group calling itself Iowa City Citizens for the Legalization of Urban Chicken Keeping, or I-CLUCK, submitted a petition signed by nearly 1,000 people expressing support for what is commonly called backyard or urban chickens. The city also was petitioned in 2009, but early the next year a majority of council members said they were opposed...
(Council member) Susan Mims, who in the past objected to the city exploring the issue, said she possibly could support a restrictive ordinance. She noted, however, that there are a lot of questions to consider, like what happens when a chicken gets sick or no longer produces eggs. She also said that while backyard chicken supporters have been very vocal, she’s also heard from a lot of people concerned about problems with noise and smell.
One idea city staffers have discussed is requiring anyone who wants a chicken permit to get the consent of immediate neighbors, Markus said. Council member Terry Dickens said his support would be conditional on such a provision being included. “If there’s one neighbor that is against, it, they can’t put it in,” said Dickens, another past backyard chicken opponent.
Iowa City will survive if and when urban chicken farms get the final okay. I am sure that there will be enough regulations in place to help most urban chicken farmers create safe and secure coops and for the city authorities to respond appropriately for the few who act irresponsibly.