NORTH OGDEN -- Residents weren't shy at a recent city council meeting about expressing their views on keeping chickens in residential neighborhoods.
The council chambers were full with residents, most of whom not only want chickens, but they want more than the six the ordinance is suggesting.
The proposed addition to the animal ordinance suggests that residents living on less than one acre can have six chickens, no roosters and will not be allowed to sell eggs. Those living on one to five acres can have 10 chickens per acre, not to exceed 60 chickens in any zone.
The city currently allows chickens in the two agricultural zones in the city. The proposal also calls for chicken owners to pay the city $5 per year for a license to keep the chickens. City Manager Ed Dickie explained that the reason for the fee is for the city to have a record of who has chickens, so owners can be notified if there is some kind of disease or outbreak affecting chickens.
Several residents said that in order to buy chickens, they have to be bought in large quantities, because the larger quantities help keep the birds alive, especially if the chickens are purchased online and have to be shipped.
Resident Glenn Gunter said that unlike other animals, chickens produce something of value and have minimal impact.
Residents also expressed concern over the rule that the chicken coops have to be 10 feet from the property line, which for some smaller lots would put coops right in the middle of the yard.
Councilman Wade Bigler spoke against that idea, too. He said that would be a bigger eyesore and disturbance than right by the property line.
"You would have us put it right in the middle of our backyard, yet a dog run can be one foot from the property line," said resident Jerald Shaw.
"I think it's funny the city can make money (off chickens) and no one else can," Shaw added, referring to the ban on selling eggs. He and other residents said the council is placing more restrictions on chickens than on other animals.
Bigler told residents he supports having chickens in the smaller residential zones, but said he had received several e-mails from residents opposing the change.
"This is the way for us to meet in the middle," he said of having the chickens limited to six on less than an acre.
The council will vote on an amendment to the ordinance in the next month, but didn't officially change the wording in the proposed ordinance, which can be found online at www.northogdencity.com.