Salina City Commission Postpones Vote for Chicken-Keeping Ordinances

Salina City Commission Postpones Vote for Chicken-Keeping Ordinances
Photo by Jarah Cooper

At the Salina City Commission meeting on Monday, February 12th, 2024 the city staff proposed ordinances 24-11194 and 24-11195 aimed to amend existing municipal code provisions in regards to chicken-keeping. Ordinance 24-11194 stems from a study session held on November 13, 2023, where city staff explored modifications to the current regulations on chicken-keeping. The proposed ordinances introduced a permitting process and imposes restrictions on the number of chickens based on parcel size. A new requirement mandates that chicken coops provide at least 2 square feet of space per chicken, limiting coop placement to rear yards and allowing only single-family residences to keep chickens.

Public opinion on the proposed ordinances varied. Proponents like Brian Metzger stressed responsible chicken ownership and emphasized proper coop maintenance to mitigate odor concerns. Conversely, dissenting voices raised health issues and criticized the meeting process of the Animal Control Advisory Board, alleging bias.

Commissioners engaged in thorough deliberations, with Commissioner Hoppock highlighting potential health hazards associated with chicken manure emissions, underscoring the commission's commitment to public health. Mayor Longbine advocated for minimal restrictions, while Commissioner Davis proposed a vote postponement to allow for further provisions without overregulation.

The session concluded with a majority vote (4-1) to postpone the final decision until March 11th, 2024. The commissioners aim to revisit the ordinances, potentially incorporating elements of 24-11195 and considering a 10-foot setback rule. This delay reflects a cautious approach to balancing community concerns with regulatory adjustments.

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