Local resident James Bausch wants the city to consider an ordinance allowing chickens to be raised within the city limits.
Bosch approached the Warsaw Common Council Monday night to share his intention to go before the Warsaw Plan Commission seeking to have the city write a resolution allowing hens to be kept in town.
“I’m here on behalf of a group of citizens that would like the city to change its policies on keeping hens in the city,” said Bausch. “I can’t say exactly why Warsaw doesn’t allow it, but I’ve done some research and the history shows that after World War II there was a movement to kind of separate farmland … [but] there’s been a shift in culture since then.”
In his 10-minute appeal to the council, Bausch noted that larger cities like New York, Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee and Seattle have adopted policies permitting chickens within city limits. “Even in Indiana … very recently South Bend has passed an ordinance allowing chickens,” he said.
Although recognizing that guidelines would need to be established, Bausch noted,
“There are people, like me, who care about where their food comes from.”
Mayor Joe Thallemer asked the council their general thoughts on the idea, and several council members voiced concerns. Charlie Smith said, “I’m a little uncomfortable to be honest. I think (chickens) belong on a farm. If anyone on either side of me was to have chickens … I wouldn’t want to be woken up by a rooster crowing in the morning. I’d have to think about that for a while.”
Councilwoman Cindy Dobbins asked what kind of quantity limitations would be put on chicken owners, but it was council president Diane Quance who noted an issue prompting her councilmates to nod in agreement. “First, I think code enforcement is an issue,” she explained, “because they are not all being enforced now. Also, chickens carry E.coli and that’s a major pollutant in our local lakes.”
Thallemer said Monday night’s meeting was not the time to debate or discuss the particulars of the proposal, noting that will be the responsible for the Warsaw Plan Commission. If such an ordinance is drafted and approved by the WPC, the Warsaw Common Council would have the final say.
Bausch has been working with the Warsaw Building and Planning Department on a potential ordinance, which he plans to present at the Monday, Feb. 10, meeting of the Warsaw Plan Commission. That meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in Warsaw City Hall and is open to the public.