HOLCOMB — Opinions continued to be mixed among Holcomb City Council members on Wednesday as they again discussed whether to allow chickens to be kept in city limits, but ultimately tabled the decision so they could hear the full board's views.
At their last meeting in September, council members discussed the possibility of changing city ordinance to allow chickens in city limits after resident Anthony Zukoff brought the suggestion to the board’s attention. Zukoff told the council in September that he would like to have the ordinance changed so he can have chickens on his property once again. He previously had six chickens on his property for about three years, until a Holcomb police officer notified him they were not allowed in city limits.
The council was split on the idea at the September meeting, with councilmen Jerry Quint and Scott Homer speaking out that they wouldn't have a problem with allowing chickens in city limits and councilmen Mark Richmeier and Brian Rupp speaking out in opposition. Mayor Gary Newman also shared concerns about the proposed ordinance change.
With Richmeier absent Wednesday, council members agreed to table the decision until the full council could discuss it.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Homer said he doesn’t think it would hurt anyone for someone to have a few hens on their property.
"There’s a lot more harmful things in the world than a couple of hens in your backyard, I’ll guarantee… I think if a guy wants to have three, four, five hens for eggs, that doesn’t hurt anybody,” Homer said, adding that he had a phone call recently on someone complaining about a yard in Holcomb he went to look at. “There’s probably worse s--- living in that yard that’s a lot worse than a chicken. I think we’ve got bigger fish to fry.”
“I could see the benefits of having chickens," Quint said, noting that he thinks six hens would be a lot quieter than a dog and wouldn't cause as much of an offensive smell.
Rupp said he still feels the same as he did last meeting.
“I think you’re just kind of opening up other potential problems,” he said. “… To me it’s easier to keep the ordinance as is than to possibly bring a potential problem later.”
Councilman Ron Schreibvogel, who was absent from the September meeting, agreed.
“We have the ordinance, let’s stay with it,” he said.
Garden City’s ordinance states it is unlawful for any person to permit chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, guinea fowl or other domestic fowl within city limits on any lot or in any enclosure or building located within 100 feet of the dwelling of any person other than the keeper of such fowl.
Newman encouraged the governing body to get public feedback from Holcomb residents on the proposal. He also encouraged the public to attend the next council meeting to express opinions on the matter.
The next scheduled council meeting is 7 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Holcomb Administration Building, 200 N. Lynch St.
Contact Josh Harbour at firstname.lastname@example.org.