Urban chickens take note: You’re legal (for all intents and purposes) after all.
Don’t start dancing on the coop roof, though. Don’t shoot off fireworks, or go declaring independence.
It’s a good bet it won’t last.
It all goes back to last fall, when Oklahoma City’s urban chickens debate turned on an ordinance that said anyone who keeps chickens must live on at least an acre of land.
That meant keeping chickens was off limits to anybody living in a typical house, with a typical backyard, in a typical city neighborhood.
The figure was criticized as arbitrary, and no one could say why it wasn’t a half-acre, or 10 acres.
That rankled urban farming advocates who promote locally sourced food and cuddly backyard egg-layers.
The farm set thought they were good to go when the city council began considering an update to urban agriculture regulations.
Included were provisions for keeping hens, anywhere in the city. When the planning commission approved, without a whisper of dissent, urban chicken ranchers saw blue skies and sunshine ahead.
Then the city council carved chickens out of the broader agriculture measure.
New rules loosening restrictions on urban farms, vegetable gardens, compost piles and backyard greenhouses passed last December with little fuss.
In a separate vote, though, chickens lost out.
This week, a revision giving residents a say on whether chickens should be allowed in their neighborhoods also lost, 5-4.
It turns out the city council dropped the one-acre restriction on chickens when it passed the gardens and greenhouses rules.
Blame a clerical error, said Cindy Richard, of the city attorney’s office.
And while it was inadvertent and city officials say there may be a technical justification for saying backyard chickens still are outlaws, Richard said, “We’ll be holding off on doing any prosecution.”
Because the city council dropped the one-acre rule, only the city council can restore it, she said.
No date is set to consider going back to the old way of doing things.
So, if you’re a potential urban chicken owner, this might be a good time to call downtown and plead — or cluck — your case.
The number is 297-3884.