Pet or livestock?
The Beavercreek City Council has recently been faced with the issue of allowing chickens in residential areas. While some residents feel chickens are pets, like a dog or a cat, many think otherwise. Pet or not, should they be allowed in small residential lots? The issue will be revisited in a future work session to implement a code that is agreeable to the community.
“What I’d like to emphasis is that chickens are pets. They’re not running around making a huge mess. They’re no different than cats or dogs,” Beavercreek resident Jim Risen said. “Yes, they should be kept odor-free and clean.” His wife, Pam also added, “I call them pets with benefits.”
Although the Risens believe chickens should be considered pets and allowed in residential areas, other residents don’t agree. Diana Lippmeyer stated that she believes chickens should stay in the township or outside city limits. “They’re already in my neighborhood and I’m not happy about it. They smell.”
The current proposed code allows for chickens on a minimum lot size of 15,000 square foot. Roosters are prohibited. Chickens should be housed in a coop and are prohibited from free-reign. The chicken area must be free of odors, mess, noise and disease. There is a 20 feet setback requirement from any property line. Chickens should be housed in backyards only. Councilman Jarvis suggested getting the written permission from surrounding neighbors if chickens were wanted. He also suggested speaking with other community leaders where chickens are allowed.
“We’re a community of approximately 46,000 plus residents and approximately 18,000 households- most of which are single family homes. There was a time when Beavercreek was very rural, but times have changed. Now, I don’t think that the average household in a subdivision wants to deal with chickens,” Beavercreek resident Phil Parker said. “Chickens belong more in a rural area rather than the city.”
Councilwoman, Litteral questioned if a chicken should be considered a pet, but she said she understood the concept. But, when suggesting a lot size of 15,000 square feet, she didn’t think it was large enough. She agreed that chicken would be better suited for a more rural or country setting. She doesn’t believe this issue should be considered for the city zoning codes. Councilwoman, Wallace agrees that the lot size is too small. She recommended a lot size of 3-5 acres as a minimum. She is also not in favor of chickens in the city limits.
“For me, it’s about property rights. Beavercreek citizens bought property with the expectation that neighborhood wouldn’t turn into barnyards. They’ve made an investment, they have expectations and I don’t believe you should have chickens in small areas like neighborhoods,” Jarvis said. Beavercreek’s Mayor agrees with Jarvis about the expectations of homeowners.
“Domestic animals are what is expected in Beavercreek neighborhoods,” said that Mayor. “The argument if a chicken is a pet is another issue.” He is also not in favor of having chickens in the community.
What are your thoughts?