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What came first, the chicken or the egg? Well, if it is in the city limits of Eudora, it may not matter much longer because you might not have the ability to have the chicken or the egg (unless it’s fried, scrambled or hard boiled).

The Eudora City Commission was once again presented the question that has surfaced on several occasions before about permitting a person or family raising chickens inside the city limit.  Current regulations stipulate that chickens are not allowed in the city limits, but citizens can petition the City Commission to allow them to keep up to 4 chickens on their property. This exemption has been requested and granted on at least three different occasions over the course of the last year.  That was until tonight.

Kelly and Ryan Johnson went to the commission to seek permission to raise a few chickens.  They were not looking for starting a farm by any means.

“We were wanting to raise our own chickens  because we wanted to have fresh eggs and know where they come from. We also wanted it to be a learning experience for our children,” Kelly told us.  “There are so many benefits to owning chickens-a food source, garden fertilizer, and they eat bugs and leftover food scraps. We did a lot of research and thought that there would be a lot of benefits to owning our own chickens.”

But the Johnsons were shot down by the Commission. In a 3-2 vote, the Commission denied the exemption to the current ordinance.  Commissioners Kenny Massey, Tim Reazin and Jolene Born voted against it with Mayor Ruth Hughs and Vice-Mayor John Fiore voting for it.

“We are disappointed in their decision,” Kelly said to us following the meeting. “We were hoping that we would have been approved since they have approved people in the past.”

In voting down the exemption, Massey and Reazin both stated that they have been in the past and continue to be against citizens raising chickens in the city limits. Both brought up concerns about enforcement of regulations that state they must be enclosed and to the maximum number allowed and who would police those regulations with a already busy city staff.   Born said that she was saying no right now, but wanted more information about the topic and to do some research before making a permanent decision on the matter.

Hughs and Fiore took the minority view on the matter.

“I really don’t care either way,” Fiore said. “If someone wants to raise an animal in the city limits as long as there are controls and standards in place and they are treating the animals humanly, then I am for it.”

“We’ve talked about this for 3 or four years now and I’ve been on the fence for a long time about it,” Hughs said in her voting for the proposal.  “But I’m a farm girl and I don’t see (having) chickens as a problem.”

The Commission did agree on holding a work session to ultimately decide to fowl or not fowl.  Hughs said that she wanted it soon so a decision could be made and if chickens were to be allowed in the future, it would give citizens the opportunity to purchase them before local farm stores sold out for the spring.

The Johnsons say that tonight’s vote is a definite setback to their idea of having chickens but are not giving up just yet.

“I really hope they decide to allow us to have them and if they approve it in 3 weeks we will find a way to get chickens this year. They might not be chicks but we will buy adult chickens if we have to,” Kelly said. 

Looks like that in the future, quite possibly the only way you are going to have chickens in Eudora is the are fried, baked or grilled.

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11 Responses to City to look at regulations about chickens

  • Cats and dogs are not properly cared for in this town and no one does anything about it. I’ve reported instances of poor treatment to police and the Humane Society numerous times. I think I’d be against my neighbors having chickens in the backyard if they can’t properly care for a cat!

  • That is dissapointing. 4 chickens will not be messier, louder, more of a nuisance than all of the dogs in this town. I agree that there would need to be limits and regulations but the commission should be more open to the idea. I would love to be able to have them for my family and we have plenty of room and take very good care of our property.

  • I agree that if one can’t care for dogs, cats, or other pets that they have NO BUSINESS having chickens. However, why should everyone be discredited and disallowed because of “a few bad eggs”? Those who don’t properly care for their pets need to be punished! Credit to you for reporting these people Renee! Its unfortunate that nobody follows up on these complaints. I think that if a family decides to have chickens for the purposes of them being pets and using the eggs that this shouldn’t be an issue if they are housed and cared for properly. They are a low maintenance animal and VERY beneficial in more ways than one as Ms. Johnson stated in the article above. I personally have 4 chickens and have for about a year. They have improved life at my house on many levels. There have been several nights my family would have gone without supper if I didn’t have eggs coming from my back yard! Why would someone want to take the meals from my children’s mouths? I am unable to work at this time due to some health issues. I worked hard for my family for many years. If I were still able to work I certainly would. This doesn’t make me a deadbeat or a bad mom. I keep my yard nice, even when it nearly kills me to do so. Mowing my yard usually puts me out at least one day, but, I do it because I take pride in what I have and respect my neighbors. My neighbors have no problem with my chickens and have also benefitted from their eggs and one elderly neighbor even gives them her scraps,which helps her out. I clean their pen and compost the remains for my garden,which also feeds my children.

    Why would the City of Eudora rather my family not eat on many occasions just to control a matter that in no way personally effects any of the City Council members that are shooting it down? Control of this I agree with. Maybe, permission granted by all surrounding neighbors should be a stipulation the requesting household have to comply with as well as approval by the city council or assigned party (city code administrator). I have no problem complying with certain rules or codes pertaining to this, but, to just say NO I believe is unfair to us who are willing to comply with rules just because the city council members are “tired of talking about chickens” and “have more important issues” (as was said when I petitioned the city council). I apologize to the city council members that feel that my children’s nourishment is not important enough to you. I’m sorry that this is a waste of your time or such a bother to you. I truly am, but, I’m also sorry that I supported you and voted for you to be I that position. I’m also sorry that “public service” is in your full time job titles, as that is the same line of work I come from (as you know). SHAME ON YOU for NOT CARING about the welfare of city members going hungry and shame on you for not caring about the well being of fellow brothers/sisters/comrads/neighbors. If you’re time is more precious than these types of issues, then maybe you don’t belong in this position!

    I personally am very appalled and (almost a year later) still shocked by the “response I received by a couple City Council Members. Very disheartening!

    • Sarah we were given the exact same responses from 2 of the counsel members Monday night. Hence the proposal to ban chickens all together. Something along the lines of they keep having to deal with the issue every few months from residents, and they are tired of talking about it. All while one of them muttered under their breath to the other over and over again, about how Lawrence Orscheln’s doesn’t sell chicks because the city banned it-Which it completely incorrect because I just got off the phone with the store and they are selling them this year and sold them last year too!

  • I do hope they give serious consideration to the request—most people are responsible –but if not— then the privilege should be revoked.

  • I was down in Iola, Ks a month ago and they are now letting all households have up to 4 chickens. Most people that I have talked to are very happy about it. I personally think it should not be an issue in Eudora either. I drive by houses,yards, alleys and see more junk that is an eye sore than should be allowed. No one does anything about that , let alone stray animals. I have cats all over my neighborhood and they do their “thing” in my yard but nothing is done. As long as those families do their due diligence with compliance I see nothing wrong with up to 4 chickens. I myself would love to have some for my own fresh eggs instead of paying up to $3.00 a dozen. It is just another thing this community chooses to continually battle.

  • It seems more and more that this is how this city works. Rules and rules; hoops and hoops. It’s like they are afraid of progress, of building, of enhancements, of change. It seems like they want things to stay like it has always been!

  • Kelly, its funny that they would mutter that to one another. That only shows their lack of knowledge on the issue. I personally worked at Tractor Supply Company last year and the year before at this time and currently still shop at both. As I see it, there are chicks! I also know the inside of what they think they ate talking about and are sooo obviously wrong! This just shows lack of knowledge and education on the matter because of “personal ” burden. Again, disappointing for a city representative!

  • Does anyone know where the ordinance is saying residents cannot raise chickens inside city limits? I have read the ordinances I can find, and cannot find anything specifically naming chickens, only that no livestock is allowed. I would love to have a few chickens. Lawrence allows it, as does DeSoto. Why is Eudora lagging behind?

    • ORDINANCE 1017 (the ordinance you were asking about)

      Journal-World classified (published 05/08/2014)
      (First published in the
      Lawrence Daily
      Journal-World, May 1,
      2014)

      ORDINANCE 1017

      AN ORDINANCE ADDING
      CHAPTER 2, ARTICLE 1,
      SUBSECTION 2-101 (i) AND
      REPEALING CHAPTER 2, ARTICLE 1, SECTION 2-102 OF
      THE CITY CODE PERTAINING TO KEEPING ANIMALS
      AND FOWL WITHIN THE
      CITY LIMITS OF EUDORA,
      KANSAS, AND PROVIDING
      SUBSTITUTE AND ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS IN
      THEIR PLACE.

      WHEREAS, during codification in 1985, the Governing
      Body of the City of Eudora,
      Kansas had previously
      adopted city code; and

      WHEREAS, the Governing
      Body believes it to be in
      the best interest of the
      City of Eudora, Kansas to
      add Chapter 2, Article 1,
      Subsection 2-102(i) and
      amend Chapter 2, Article 1
      Section 2-102.

      NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE GOVERNING BODY OF THE CITY OF
      EUDORA, KANSAS:

      SECTION I. Chapter 2, Article 1, Subsection 2-102 (i)
      of the Code of the City of
      Eudora, Kansas, shall be
      read as follows:

      (i) Permitted fowl shall
      mean ducks, quail and female chickens.

      SECTION II. Chapter 2, Article 1, Section 2-102 of the
      Code of the City of Eudora,
      Kansas, is hereby repealed
      in its entirety and replaced
      with the following:

      2-102 KEEPING ANIMALS
      AND FOWL.
      (a) Except as provided in
      subsection (b) and subsection (c) below, it shall
      be unlawful for the owner,
      lessee, occupant, or person in charge of any premises in the city to possess
      and maintain any undomesticated animal or fowl,
      or permit to be maintained
      thereon any stable, shed,
      pen or other place where
      horses, mules, cattle,
      sheep, goats, swine, fowl,
      or undomesticated animals are kept. The provisions of this section shall
      not apply to the maintaining of a stockyard, sales
      barn, exhibition poultry,
      veterinary hospital or
      slaughterhouse, if the location of any such business does not otherwise
      violate the zoning ordinances of the city.
      (b) Except for permitted
      fowl, as provided in subsection (c) below, any person may petition the Governing Body for a permit to
      keep animals otherwise
      prohibited by subsection
      (a) above and the Governing Body may grant such
      permit upon a finding that
      the keeping of such animals will not constitute a
      nuisance or otherwise be
      detrimental to the public
      welfare of the city, and
      upon payment of an annual permit fee as may be
      established by the city
      from time to time. A permit granted pursuant to
      this subsection shall be
      subject to an annual review by the Governing
      Body.
      (c) Permitted Fowl. Approval by codes administrator. Any person may
      petition the codes administrator for a permit to
      keep permitted fowl and
      the codes administrator
      may grant such permit. An
      annual fee must be submitted upon approval from
      the codes administrator as
      established by the city
      from time to time. A permit
      granted pursuant to this
      subsection shall be subject to an annual review by
      the codes administrator.

      (1) Number. The maximum total number of permitted fowl allowed to be
      owned or kept on an individual lot is one (1) per
      one thousand (1,000)
      square feet of lot size,
      rounded down, but in no
      event will the total number
      of permitted fowl on any
      lot exceed ten (10).
      (2) Coops, Roosts, Laying
      Boxes.

      (A) In addition to the
      other requirements of this
      Chapter that specify
      standards applicable to
      the keeping of animals,
      any person who owns permitted female chickens
      shall provide a coop or
      other similar shelter and
      adequate laying boxes,
      and roosts for such chickens. Any person who
      owns permitted ducks or
      quail shall provide a coop
      or other similar shelter
      and adequate laying
      boxes. Any shelter required in this Article shall
      be screened or walled in a
      manner that allows the
      permitted fowl to be reasonably protected from
      predators.
      (B) Each required coop
      shall be a minimum of
      three (3) square feet in
      size per chicken, duck or
      quail if the permitted fowl
      have a fenced outdoor run,
      or ten (10) square feet per
      chicken, duck or quail if
      the permitted fowl do not
      have a fenced outdoor run.
      (C) A minimum of one (1)
      square foot of laying box
      space shall be provided
      per three (3) chickens.
      Each laying box will contain adequate clean bedding material such as hay or
      other similar soft material.
      One (1) eight inch (8″) or
      larger roost is required per
      chicken. Ducks and quail
      do not require roosts.
      (D) Coops shall be constructed in a manner that
      is consistent with the requirements of the city’s
      zoning regulations, Chapter 16 of the City Code (as
      amended). In the event
      that a coop qualifies as an
      accessory structure or accessory building under
      that code, all requirements
      regarding approval, placement, and setbacks must
      be met. In no event will
      any coop be located closer
      than ten (10) feet from any
      neighboring property line.
      (E) In the event that a mobile coop is utilized, the
      coop shall be kept in compliance with all city ordinances, resolutions, or
      regulations that apply to
      the outdoor storage of
      property.
      (F) The coop shall be kept
      in a clean and sanitary
      fashion to prevent the unreasonable accumulation
      of waste or any other noxious substance, offensive
      odors or the presence of
      vermin.

      SECTION III. This ordinance shall be in full force
      and effect from and after
      its adoption and publication as provided by law.

      PASSED AND APPROVED by
      a majority vote of all members of the Governing Body
      of the City of Eudora, Kansas, the 28th day of April,
      2014.
      APPROVED: Mayor on

      • Thanks for the ordinance. If I understand that correctly, as it stands, the city doesn’t have an ordinance in place allowing backyard chickens. However, it is possible to petition the city for the privilege of having chickens, or rather, hens. If they grant the privilege, the remainder of the ordinance applies to regulations regarding the number and housing of the hens. How does one go about petitioning the city for this privilege?