Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

March 20, 2014

Chicken bill not cooked


Stutsman, despite having voted against the ordinance, said he too was empathetic with the desire by members of Hens for Goshen and other city supporters to see the ordinance approved.

Even so, Stutsman said Wednesday he stands by his vote, adding that he feels more research and study on the topic of urban chickens is needed before passage of an ordinance can be realistically considered.

“Anytime you have votes like this where there are people on both sides that are really passionate, it’s tough,” Stutsman said. “You can’t feel good about either a yes or a no vote.”

From his perspective, Stutsman said his biggest concern came down to opening up the ordinance to the entire city without first knowing what potential problems may be in the wings.

“Over the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to figure out how to do a test run first, maybe through the use of variances, etc., that would have allowed us to test how this might play out in the long run,” Stutsman said. “But unfortunately, what I’d come up with, they just weren’t good enough ways to do it. So that’s why I voted no, because I thought we needed to take some more time to test this and see if there are more serious issues associated with it.”

As for whether or not this will be the last the city sees of a potential chicken keeping ordinance, Stutsman said he has already had conversations with several Hens for Goshen members about the possibility of a similar ordinance surfacing sometime in the future.

“One of the things I’ve been looking at is to see if we can find a way to create an ordinance that perhaps limits the number of permits or licenses that could be given out, which I think would make it a little more manageable as far as enforcement and tracking than just opening it up to the entire city all at once,” Stutsman said. “I really feel strongly that when creating an ordinance like this, there should be some sort of trail period before it is considered for approval. But that’s not how its been done in the past. It’s a new concept. So we have to figure out how it can be done efficiently and fairly, and that’s something I’d like to look at for this ordinance and those that come after it.”

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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