Monday, April 2, 2012

Urban Chickens in Iowa City: Where Does the City Council Stand?

Today's Iowa City Press-Citizen has an article about the renewed efforts to legalize the ownership of urban chickens within the city limits of Iowa City. I wrote last week about a new group call Iowa City Citizens for the Legalization of Urban Chicken Keeping (or I-CLUCK) and how they are bringing to topic back up for public discussion. What I find interesting about today's PC article is that they (the paper) did a quick poll of Iowa City's current councilors to get their initials thoughts on the legalization of urban chickens:
• Connie Champion: “I’m not against urban chickens, but I’m not going to discuss them until the animal shelter is finished.”
• Terry Dickens: “I still haven’t changed by mind on that. I’m not really interested in chickens now, there’s too many problems from people I’ve heard from on that.”
• Rick Dobyns: “I am very much for it, but I don’t know what the rest of the council thinks.”
• Matt Hayek: “As with before, I am still concerned about the rights of neighbors and the idea of adding to Animal Control’s responsibilities before we figure out its facility and operational issues. If there is interest among council in discussing this, we certainly can.”
• Susan Mims: “I think at this point, particularly given that we still don’t have a permanent animal shelter, I’m not ready to look at that again.”
• Michelle Payne: “If there is enough people willing to look at in it in the community, I would be willing to look at it.”
• Jim Throgmorton: “I think it is probably a good idea, so in general I am supportive of the idea. But right now, we have several other issues more important than urban chickens.”
So we have several no's and three yes's. Three councilors needs to be supportive (at least) before the City Council will address the issue. Looks like I-CLUCK needs to spend the next few months educating both the Iowa City leadership and public about this issue and about the recent successes with chicken ownership over in nearby Cedar Rapids. Who knows? We might start seeing urban chicken farms in Iowa City by this time next year!

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