Split New Carlisle council votes to allow chickens in the city

A meeting to consider restrictions to the new ordinance will be held Monday.

A divided New Carlisle City Council has passed legislation to allow chickens in the city, but members will soon discuss restrictions that might be added to the new ordinances that were passed by a 4-3 vote.

The ordinance allows the keeping of hens, also known as female chickens, at residential properties within city limits.

The ordinance says:

  • Roosters are prohibited due to potential noise disturbances.
  • Chickens must be kept in rear yards only and are not permitted in front or side yards.
  • The slaughtering of chickens is prohibited.
  • The keeping of chickens is allowed at single-family dwellings only.
  • A maximum of six chickens can be kept for residential properties that is smaller than one-acre.
  • A minimum of three chickens can be kept for any residential property with chickens.
  • Chickens must be kept in a coop, combined coop and run, or chicken tractor in a nonpermanent structure, and each coop must have a fence, vegetation or privacy screen so it’s not visible to neighbors.

The city won’t require a permit to keep chickens.

Several residents spoke in opposition to allowing chickens in the city at this meeting, including former Mayor Mike Lowry, who said some people don’t take care of animals the way they should and he doesn’t see that pattern changing with chickens.

“I can appreciate anybody that wants to learn about farm animals and agriculture ... but when you move into a city, a municipality, and I can’t speak for everybody, but I move or live in a city because I want to live by certain types of guidelines and rules. I don’t want to live next to a guy who’s got farm animals making noise and all the mess that comes with chickens ... I know there are pros to raising your own chickens and eggs, but I think that cons far outweigh at this moment. It’s just not the time, and it’s bad timing with the housing developments,” he said.

A couple residents in favor of having chickens spoke, including a woman who talked about diseases and the disposal.

“Dogs carry diseases, cats carry diseases, I raise rabbits currently in town, they carry diseases, reptiles, exotics, they also carry diseases. What helps is veterinary preventative care that we all as responsible owners provide for our animals,” she said. “The cool thing about chickens is you don’t actually have to take them to a vet to get that preventative care. Most of the preventative care against things like worms or diseases are available over the counter at places like Tractor Supply, Rural King and other farm stores ... When it comes to waste, I also have garden beds. Chickens make compost for garden beds, they can be composted and that’s a way to utilize it and if not there are ways to dispose of it in a healthy manner.”

Council held a special meeting on June 10, where legislation was introduced to make the keeping of chickens more restrictive.

The ordinance is being amended because it “lacks certain restrictions and safeguards that would protect all citizens of the city,” officials said. The amended ordinance would now include:

  • A maximum of 12 chickens can be kept for resident properties that are more than one-acre.
  • The breeding of chickens is prohibited.
  • Chicken coops, runs and tractors must be maintained to ensure the health, safety and well-being of the chickens, and regularly cleaned to control dust, odor, vermin and waste.
  • Any coop, combined coop and run or chicken tractor must be considered to be an accessory building.
  • Anyone keeping chickens must register with and apply to the city for a permit, together with an application fee, in a form adopted by the planning director. Each permit will expire on Dec. 31 of each year unless it’s renewed.

Legislation will update the fee schedule and permits required to add the cost of obtaining a permit for the keeping of chickens at residential properties within the city, and to add chicken coops, combined chicken coops and runs and chicken tractors to the list of accessory structures.

The amended ordinance states the initial cost of the permit for keeping chickens will be $5, and the fee for the annual renewal of the permit will also be $5.

With the ordinances already passed to allow chickens, Mayor Bill Cook said council has 15 days from that original ordinance to get the amendments tied in with the ordinance, so they had to have a special meeting.

Credit: Carolyn Christine Photography

Credit: Carolyn Christine Photography

City Manager Randy Bridge spoke during the meeting, calling the ordinance passed as is “detrimental.”

“The ordinance that was passed at last council meeting was very detrimental the way it was with lack of registration, lack of maximum amount on an acre or more,” he said. “It would end up being very detrimental due to the lack of registration or anything to go behind it ... It’s absolutely one of the most, if not the most, detrimental ordinances that have ever been passed since I’ve been employed here.”

For example, Bridge said, if they have a salmonella outbreak and the county board of health asks for their list of permits of where the chickens are location, “we have absolutely no way of knowing where they’re at.”

He also has talked about the ordinance to amend the initial action.

“They’re not taking (the ordinance) away, it’s just avenues for the city to be able to enforce and make it safe for everyone involved. There is a massive issue with not having a cap on an acre or more because a person can get 100 chickens, 200 chickens, that person can go to someone next to them and say, ‘Hey, I don’t have a limit, would you like me to house your chickens,’ and get paid to do so ... It’s an ordinance that kind of meets everyone halfway, in my opinion,” he said.

During the special meeting, a few residents also spoke again about how they feel about chickens being allowed in the city.

“I think it’s, in a way, kind of humorous we’re talking about chickens ... We’re talking about salmonella but you can get that at stores too. Just keep a clean nest, place for the eggs and chickens,” said a resident. “You need to learn them like you do with other pets. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem because not a whole lot of people will want or have them. The idea is to take care of them, just like other animals.”

Supporters say people should be self-sufficient in something by growing something, providing something you can eat.

City council will discuss and take action on the introduced ordinances at a meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 17, at Heritage Hall.

For more information, visit newcarlisleohio.gov/city-council. To watch past city council meetings, visit www.youtube.com/@cityofnewcarlisle.

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