Chickens fate in Roeland Park to be determined

City Council takes input on chicken keeping

UPDATE | 11-09-2010

The Roeland Park City Council didn't make any decisions about chicken laws Tuesday night.

City Councilman Robert Myers said Tuesday night’s town hall lasted more than two hours with “good spirited conversation.”

The issue now heads to the city’s Administrative Committee, who is set to review the item at its Dec. 6 meeting.

From there, the committee could recommend the council take action, which would not take place until early 2011.

If they decide to adopt an ordinance on the issue, an additional two to six months would be needed for it to take effect.

ORIGINAL POST | 11-08-2010

ROELAND PARK, Kansas - In one Kansas City suburb, they may not know which came first, the chicken or the egg...but they're trying to decide whether either belongs in their city.

Roeland Park is a typical landlocked suburb with leafy, tree lined streets.

And recently it also had chickens. At least in Sheri McNeil's backyard. A neat coop used to be home to six hens. When McNeil was forced to give them up, she decided to try and change things.

"I love to live organically and as environmentally sound as I can and so I wanted the chickens to complete what I could gather in my backyard with the vegetables I can come out and gather my vegetables, gather eggs and I have a complete meal right outside my door," McNeil said.

She wants Roeland Park residents to be able to keep a few hens - no roosters - for a personal egg supply. She's been making her case to the City Council.

"I think the absence of chickens in urban areas is kind of a long settled fact," Scott Gregory, Roeland Park City Councilman said.

"Up until about 1950 almost everybody had chickens in their backyard. It was just common," McNeil countered.

She's done her homework.

LINK: HS student smuggles chicken out of class

"Hens at their very loudest are 70 decibels a dog is 90 decibels," she said.

She points out that all the concerns people have with chickens could also be said about dogs or cats.

"One medium sized dog produces more waste per day than six hens," she added.

She composted her hens waste, and she says you can't do that with a dog or cat because of disease concerns.

"I just see a world of problems in it," Gregory said.

Gregory says he's not a chicken hater. He points out that he's the only council member to have kept chickens as a kid. He's looked at other cities' chicken laws.

"Many of the ordinances we've seen would require a chicken coop to be 25 feet from the nearest property line. Well, that's impossible on a 40 foot lot," he said.

So what comes next, the chicken, the egg, or neither? That's up to the people of Roeland Park.

There will be public input at a town hall meeting at Roeland Park City Hall, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.

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