NORMAN — City council members Tuesday will consider an ordinance that would ease restrictions on keeping backyard chickens.
The council meets at 6:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building's council chambers, 201 W Gray St.
If approved, the ordinance would allow residents to keep up to four chickens or laying hens in fully enclosed coops, as long as the coops are at least 25 feet from a neighboring house. The coops would have to provide at least four square feet per animal. No roosters would be allowed.
The city's current ordinances require that chicken enclosures be at least 100 feet from the nearest residence and 25 feet from the nearest property line.
Proponents of the measure say the existing restrictions effectively ban chickens in all but agricultural zones or large residential estates.
City planners say the new ordinance is the result of residents' interest in keeping chickens on their property. A 120-name petition in support of lowering restrictions was presented to the city in the spring.
The trend toward raising chickens in urban settings is national, planners say.
“News about food recalls and other animal industry issues have provoked concerns about the safety of the food supply. Many citizens view the practice of urban agriculture, including the raising of backyard chickens, as contributing to environmental sustainability,” Planning Director Susan Connors wrote in a staff memorandum accompanying the proposed ordinance.
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