Ogden City Council to start debate on backyard chicken ordinance

Sunday , December 03, 2017 - 5:00 AM3 comments

TIM VANDENACK, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — After more than a year of lobbying and campaigning by proponents of backyard chickens, the Ogden City Council will start debating a measure that would permit them.

The council will take up the proposal at a work session on Tuesday at 4 p.m., but officials aren’t scheduled to take action — not yet, anyway. 

“No decision will be made during this meeting, but I anticipate that the council may determine a path forward for consideration during this discussion,” Amy Mabey, a policy analyst for the city council, said in an email.

The Ogden Planning Commission, an advisory body to the city council, recommended in a 7-1 vote on Nov. 2 against adopting a chicken ordinance. One member expressed concern that not all owners would properly care for their chickens if they had them, while another questioned whether the birds fit with leaders’ vision of the future for Ogden.

RELATED: Ogden commission recommends against chicken ordinance, but measure still alive

City council members won’t be taking public input, but proponents from the Ogden Chicken Alliance, who have petitioned for action, plan to be on hand. The meeting will be held at the Ogden Municipal Building, 2549 Washington Blvd.

“Just a show of support,” said John Christiansen, who has pushed the measure along with his wife Liz. They tout the eggs chickens produce and counter some critics’ contentions that they pose a health hazard.

The measure proposed by city staff would allow up to six chickens, in combination with other pets, like cats and dogs. Only homeowners could house birds and they’d have to have a backyard with a minimum of 2,000 square feet of open space.

Christiansen says the backyard space requirement is too restrictive. He and his wife tout a measure that doesn’t spell out any minimum space requirement, just says that coops must be at least 5 feet from a property line unless there’s a solid fence separating properties, and 20 feet from a neighboring home.

RELATED: Ogden Chicken Alliance working to scratch up more support for backyard birds

Officials considered a backyard chicken proposal back in 2009, but an ordinance never materialized, and the issue has lingered on. Most other cities in Weber and Davis counties allow backyard chickens.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/TimVandenackReporter.

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