Powell city council, in a 4-2 vote Tuesday night, remanded an ordinance back to the planning and zoning commission that would allow backyard chickens, with a list of suggestions for revisions.
During the Nov. 15 meeting several members of the council spoke in opposition to raising chickens.
Maggie Carter, 11, countered their reasons not to allow raising backyard chickens from the previous meeting.
“I took that feedback and did some research for the second reading,” Carter said.
Carter is supported in the issue by her parents Renee and Stephen Carter, who have helped her through the governmental process. She told council she had done additional research to answer their concerns.
“My dad and I consulted some experts,” Carter said. “Regarding smell, one 40-pound dog produces more waste than 10 chickens. Imagine how much three 80-pound dogs would generate.”
She told the council she only plans to raise six chickens and would clean their cages regularly to prevent any odors.
Carter said the two biggest disease concerns transmitted to humans is avian flu and salmonella.
“Avian flu just doesn’t exist in small flocks,” she said. “As for salmonella and any other diseases, hand washing is a must. It’s the same as handling raw chicken or eggs from the store.”
Carter addressed the issue of predators.
“We already have predators in our yard such as raccoons and coyotes. Predators are attracted to bird feeders, gardens, fish ponds, bird bathes, trash cans and small dogs and cats. Chickens won’t be attracting predators that don’t already exist in our community.”
After Carter’s presentation, three residents said they opposed the chickens.
“Legalization of chickens in Powell is just not something I could support or even my neighbors,” Chris Shear said. “The people I talked to are against changing anything to allow for chickens. I consider this somewhat of a social engineering project. I really don’t care if Bexley does it or Upper Arlington does it, this is Powell.”
Catharine Gray told council she was not signing up for chickens in backyards.
“I will be one of the people that will sue someone who puts up a chicken coop in their backyard,” she said. “This is a bad thing.”
However, Kristina Erasmus said she doesn’t think the home owners associations’ concerns are as much about chickens as it is with structures.
“I’m here to support Maggie and I think she has done a lot of research and I do think there is minimal issue in regard to health and sanitation,” she said.
Input from the council varied after the public comment.
Councilman Daniel Swarthwout said he found the language to be “too vague to allow the public to know if they are complying with the ordinance or not.”
Councilman Brendan Newcomb said if council passes the ordinance and public issues are raised then it could “repeal it.”
“I view this as a mini-conservation easement,” he said. “I’m not going to stand in the way of an 11-year-old girl’s dream to raise chickens. So I’m supporting this ordinance.”
Councilman Tom Counts said in a community like Powell where there has been an attempt to create a certain kind of living conditions that raising chickens is not appropriate.
After the meeting Carter’s father and mother talked about the meeting.
“Lots of concerns and talk of HOAs. I thought you got it approved at the city level first then you allowed every HOA to say yes or no,” Stephen Carter said. “To hear a councilman say we should have gone to the HOA first, we would have been laughed at.”
“I’m going to look up more stuff,” Maggie Carter said.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.