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Monday, September 30, 2013

Ind. Gov't. - More on urban chickens: "Lafayette behind on national trend, backyard coop fans say"

Dave Bangert, columnist for the Lafayette Journal Courier, writes at length about a new effort - some quotes:

... to build some slow momentum to take the word “chicken” out of a Lafayette city code that makes it illegal to “own, keep or breed” certain livestock. The goal is to give urban dwellers and suburbanites access to their own fresh eggs and be part of a sustainability movement that has caught on across the country. * * *

This go-round in the name of backyard chickens will be different than the last one, said [Ben] Alkire, an organizer of a group called Neighbor Hens. In 2009, after city inspectors fielded complaints about a family in Lafayette’s Highland Park neighborhood with four hens, the city council’s Public Health Welfare and Safety Committee held some crowded hearings but ultimately declined to change the livestock ordinance.

“The past brush-up at city hall several years ago hardened the stance of many of the common council and public. I try not to dwell on that,” said Alkire, who led the first informational meeting of the Lafayette Poultry Project on Monday. “The plan is to go slowly, using a persuasive soft sell.” * * *

Rick Walker, West Lafayette’s Neighborhood Resource Team supervisor, said the city views chickens as it would any other pet: Nuisance ordinances apply. John King, an animal control officer, said he can recall one complaint about backyard chickens, and that involved a noisy rooster. He said the owner got rid of it.

Because there are no permits needed to keep a chicken in West Lafayette, there’s no firm count on the number in the city. But [Hilary Mark] Nelson rattled off several neighbors who had them in a two-block area.

“That I know of,” he said.

The first persuasive line of attack: If egg-laying hens are fine for the seven college communities Greater Lafayette is supposed to be comparing itself to in the 2012 “From Good to Great: Making Greater Lafayette a Community of Choice” report, why not here?

Actually, the Lafayette Poultry Project doesn’t need to go all the way to Madison, Wis., Ann Arbor, Mich., or Eugene, Ore., to make a case.

Try the college community across the Wabash River.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 30, 2013 09:10 AM
Posted to Indiana Government