Niles citizens say ‘no’ to foul fowl

Published 11:17 pm Monday, October 11, 2010


Niles Daily Star

A proposal hatched by councilman Dan VandenHeede to loosen restrictions on keeping chickens in the city has fizzled out, he reported Monday night.

VandenHeede told the city council he received memos from the fire and police chiefs explaining that the ordinance — which would allow residents to keep chickens up to 10 feet from their property lines instead of the 100 feet currently allowed with a special permit — would be too difficult to enforce.

Citizens have also expressed their disapproval to council members.

“They are concerned with smell, and concerned with noise,” VandenHeede said. “I heard about 50-50,” he said.

The city ordinance committee decided Monday to not move forward with the proposal.

“There wasn’t enough consensus to move forward at this point,” said VandenHeede, who intended to raise chickens at his home. “I’m a little disappointed on that one.

“The idea was to legitimize the process for people who want to live a sustainable lifestyle,” he said.

A similar chicken ordinance proposal was also turned down in the City of St. Joseph, VandenHeede said. He modeled his proposal partly on an ordinance in Ann Arbor.

“I’m sorry the squawking didn’t go the chicken’s way,” councilwoman Betty Arndt joked Monday.