GOSHEN — Goshen residents may be able to raise chickens in their yards if a proposed ordinance advances Tuesday at the City Council meeting.
City Council members Dixie Robinson and Everett Thomas helped draft a “Keeping Chickens Ordinance,” which will be discussed at the meeting.
The ordinance comes from months of work by Thomas and Robinson and community members who were part of a committee to draft the ordinance.
Robinson and Thomas both said they have been approached in recent years by members of the community who were interested in keeping chickens. One such group is the Facebook group “Hens for Goshen,” which had 165 members as of Saturday.
Currently, according to Facebook group founder John Nafziger, if a Goshen resident wants to keep chickens in their yard they need to get a zoning variance from the Board of Zoning Appeals.
“It’s time consuming, to prove to the board you can have the chickens. But sometimes all it takes is one neighbor to say no and they won’t let you get it,” Nafziger said.
According to Nafziger, the cost of a obtaining a variance is around $150.
Thomas said the committee looked at similar ordinances other communities have adopted. Nafziger said he knows of 14 cities in Indiana that have chicken-keeping ordinances.
The proposed ordinance would allow city residents to keep up to six hens with some restrictions and excludes roosters.
For example, the chickens shall be used for non-commercial use, no selling of eggs or fertilizer and chickens may not be bred or slaughtered on the property. There are also regulations pertaining to the enclosures in which the chickens should be kept and the upkeep of those structures.
Thomas said the committee looked at South Bend’s ordinance, which was passed in January of 2013, as well as other cities’ ordinances from around the country.