EDMOND — Jamie Newton wants urban chickens in her Edmond backyard, but a city ordinance allows backyard egg-layers only on land zoned agricultural.
Newton has gardens at her home in the 1400 block of Mockingbird Lane and she would like to use the soil-enhancing waste on her plants. She also is interested in fresh eggs, something you can’t buy in the store, she said.
“I have a grandson, and he would be able to interact with another animal,” Newton said Wednesday.
Newton asked city council members this week to put backyard chickens on a future agenda for a possible change in the ordinance.
Much to her surprise Newton learned she wasn’t the only one in Edmond wanting chickens.
Mayor Charles Lamb said they have been looking at the wording of the ordinance because other people had requested backyard chickens.
Edmond’s code allows people to build a coop, but they can only have chickens if their property is zoned agricultural.
“It is not the permit,” Lamb said. “We have to work through the policing after the fact. We are still doing our homework.”
The mayor admitted they also are watching how Oklahoma City is handling the request for urban chickens.
The Oklahoma City Council voted 5-4 this week against a proposal to relax rules on who can keep chickens. It followed the Dec. 31 defeat of a proposal that had been part of a broad measure to promote urban agriculture.
Under the Oklahoma City ordinance defeated this week, residents who want to keep chickens would have had to apply for a permit and pay $25.
Oklahoma City’s current rules limit chickens to lots of at least one acre.
Edmond’s staff will continue to study the question before deciding on whether to change the city ordinance.
“We want to take the appropriate action,” Lamb said.
City Councilwoman Victoria Caldwell warned that neighborhood covenants could supersede any city ordinance change the council might make.
Newton is hopeful what happened in Oklahoma City doesn’t play a role in the outcome in Edmond.
“There are a lot more rural settings in Edmond,” Newton said.
Newton has lived in Edmond since 1983. When she moved into her home in south Edmond in the Briarwood housing addition, she said, there was five acres and horses behind her house.
“Edmond has a long history of being agricultural,” Newton said. “There is a large metropolitan movement for urban chickens.”