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Proposed rules could ease restrictions on urban agriculture in Oklahoma City

The Oklahoma City Planning Commission agreed unanimously Thursday to broad changes intended to bring city ordinances in line with trends toward locally grown food and an urban back-to-the-land ethic.
by William Crum Modified: October 24, 2013 at 9:56 pm •  Published: October 25, 2013
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Common in many parts of town but outlaws on most residential lots, chickens could soon be clucking openly in backyards around Oklahoma City.

The Planning Commission agreed unanimously Thursday to broad changes intended to bring city ordinances in line with trends toward locally grown food and an urban back-to-the-land ethic.

Under the proposals, fresh eggs could become part of the neighborhood equation without regard to housing density. Now, chickens are forbidden on lots smaller than an acre.

Embracing the new urban agriculture is a step toward making fresh, wholesome food available to residents who lack access to full-service grocery stores, said Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid.

Northeast Oklahoma City has been characterized as a “food desert” because so many grocery stores have moved out. Residents must buy at convenience stores or travel long distances to shop.

“It's not the role of government to tell us we can't grow our own food on our own property,” said Shadid, who attended the meeting and sat with supporters of the changes.

Commission members asked only minor questions about rules for compost and rainwater barrels.

The proposals would clarify and update ordinances regarding:

• Chickens, which would be allowed in backyards in residential settings without regard to lot size. Six hens would be the limit — no roosters — and a well-kept coop and yard would be required.

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by William Crum
Reporter
OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman.
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