By Danielle Coots
For the News-Current
BEAVERCREEK — There won’t be any chickens crossing the roads of residential neighborhood in Beavercreek. City council voted down moving forward with the issue of allowing the keeping of chickens in residential districts by a vote of 5 to 1 and one council member was absent.
“Thank you to the citizens that provided input and informational internet links regarding pros and cons of chickens,” Council Member Melissa Litteral said. “I sure have learned a lot about chickens.”
The issue of whether chickens are allowed in city neighborhoods has been one of the main topics during city council over the last couple month. Originally, the ordinance regarding these birds was included in the zoning regulations.
During a recent revision to the zoning codes, it was determined to remove the section regarding chickens to allow the amendments to the zoning codes to move forward and revisit the chicken issue at another date and time. But, council wanted the issue resolved in due time because it’s been an issue that has been questioned over the years. Because residents were experiencing issues with possible non-compliant neighbors housing chickens on non-agricultural residential property, they wanted a decision on the topic so the issue could be addressed.
During the last city council meeting, the issue went before the board for a vote, resulting in a tie. This prevented the issue from moving forward to the second reading, but rather remaining an issue to be decided during the Sept. 12 meeting.
Vice Mayor Julie Vann voiced her opinion in support of the chickens stating that she feels chickens are no different than dogs or cats. Although, she was one that voted the issue down at the time of the vote.
“I think there are more pressing issues in the community other than if we should allow chickens. We should be looking at limiting the number of dogs per household or dealing with tall grass, inoperable vehicles and stuff like that,” she said.
“There has to be a line drawn at some point concerning farm animals in residential areas,” said Council Member Brian Jarvis. “If we allow chickens, then we will start getting requests to allow other farm animals such as goats.”
The city has declared that chickens are not permitted in residential areas in Beavercreek, except property deemed as agricultural areas. According to the chicken ordinance, violators will be in violations of the zoning code and could be forced to remove the chickens or be fined.
During the decision process, several citizens for and against chickens in residential areas voiced their opinions. Chicken owners and individuals wanting to go organic were in favor of the change while others who felt neighborhoods were not the place for farm animals.
Some questioned the definition of the word “pet” while others recognized chickens as farm animals or livestock. While the discussions were colorful, the bottom line with city council was to keep the chickens in rural areas for the time being.
For questions or to report violations contact the City of Beavercreek.
Danielle Coots is a freelance writer for Greene County News.