GOSHEN — Goshen’s chicken keeping ordinance has been defeated. But is it really gone for good?
Following Tuesday night’s vote to deny passage of a controversial urban chicken keeping ordinance, Goshen City Council members Dixie Robinson and Jeremy Stutsman joined prominent ordinance supporter John Nafziger Wednesday to reflect on the night’s events and provide predictions for whether or not they see the possibility of a similar ordinance surfacing down the line.
After sitting through nearly an hour and a half of impassioned comments both for and against the proposed ordinance, council members Tuesday voted 4-2 to deny passage of the ordinance citing lingering concerns connected to issues such as property value impact, potential for disease and ability for adequate enforcement.
Voting against the ordinance were council members Ed Ahlersmeyer, Stutsman, Jim McKee and Brett Weddell. Voting for the ordinance were council members Everett Thomas and Robinson. Council member Julia Gautsche was absent from Tuesday’s meeting and therefore unable to vote on the ordinance.
Tuesday’s vote came as a bit of a shock to Nafziger, founder of the 180-member Facebook group Hens for Goshen, which played a major part in getting the ordinance before the council this month.
“I was definitely surprised and disappointed,” Nafziger said of Tuesday’s vote. “As we went in for the meeting, I felt we had a really good chance, and that we’d built a good grassroots support for it. So yes, it was a disappointment.”
The road to Tuesday’s vote had been a long one for Nafziger, who said he first brought the idea of the chicken keeping ordinance to Mayor Allan Kauffman back in 2011.
“Our group was much smaller at that point than it is now,” Nafziger said, “and we were really just brainstorming and thinking about how we might make it happen.”