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Council decides backyard chicken ban stays in place

July 6, 2011

The fate of “backyard chickens” in Deer Park was sealed when then Deer Park City Council decided to do nothing at its July 6 meeting.
The city council, which heard more support on the concept of allowing residents to raise a small number of chickens in their backyard, refused to overturn a report submitted by the Deer Park Planning Commission that would keep the ban in place.
The planning commission decided that controlling the chicken population would be very difficult for the city’s animal control officer and that the agricultural animals could pose a health problem.
Shirley Ross, one of a handful of chicken supporters to attend the city council meeting, said other animals pose a greater health risk and wondered if a trial period to raise chickens was a better option that an all-out ban.
It was also noted that there was overwhelming citizen support for backyard chickens during the planning commission’s public meeting on the issue.
Planning Commission Chair Dan Berg, who attended the city council meeting, noted that there was unanimous support by commission members to keep the ban of agricultural animals within the city limits in place.
The city council was split on the issue when they decided to send it to the planning commission for review last October.
“I think we did listen,” added Berg on the charge that city officials ignored the citizen support for raising chickens.
He said the commission was also worried about an “escalation issue” of residents wanting to raise other agricultural animals within the city if the chicken proposal was approved.
Councilman Don Stevens, who was not keen on the chicken idea in October, thanked the planning commission for its work on the issue.
Councilman Steve Hughes, a tepid chicken supporter last fall, agreed to keep the ban in place because of the added amount of regulations the raising of the animals would place on the city staff.

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