chickens

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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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