Piqua City Commission, Planning Commission discuss urban chickens

PIQUA — On Wednesday, the Piqua City Commission held a joint work session with the Piqua Planning Commission to explore the idea of allowing residents within city limits to raise chickens.

Chickens are currently banned in the city of Piqua’s animal section of its code, which prohibits agricultural animals on lots under five acres. It also states agricultural animals must kept at least 1,000 feet away from a residence.

City Commissioner Thomas Fogt began the conversation, saying he had heard from a few residents who were interested in raising urban chickens, adding he was also in favor of allowing urban chickens.

“I think there’s a big movement across the U.S. … you’re starting to see more families become more self-sufficient,” Fogt said. Fogt said there were residents who wanted to raise chickens in order to become more self-reliant, and he added he thought it would be a way to help promote 4-H clubs.

Fogt discussed the city of Montgomery, which is located in Hamilton County near Cincinnati. It has a population of approximately 10,000 people and allows urban chickens.

“Montgomery city did not have a lot of infractions where neighbors were calling code enforcement (on other neighbors),” Fogt said.

Piqua City Planner Kyrsten French also noted that the city of Dayton is considering adding legislation to its zoning code to address chickens, explaining Dayton’s code does not specifically address chickens as it is now so there are some residents already keeping them. French said Beavercreek, Kettering, and Oakwood ban urban chickens, but cities like Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, and Cleveland allow raising up to six chickens in an urban setting. She said there are regulations restricting roosters and capping the number of chickens based on lot sizes, as well as regulations addressing the sale and slaughter of chickens.

Members of the Planning Commission brought up concerns on allowing chickens in an urban setting, such as preventing the spread of salmonella, along with concerns about noise and the impact on property values.

“Anecdotally, I talked to some millennials in Columbus … the clucking bothered them,” Planning Commissioner Gary Koenig said. Koenig added raising chickens can be expensive due to having to heat the chicken coops.

City Commissioner Kazy Hinds suggested the idea of a shared property for residents to house chicken coops, similar to the community garden idea.

The commissioners agreed they needed more community input to see what residents wanted as Hinds noted she had not heard from anyone in the city who wanted to raise urban chickens. Fogt said he had heard from approximately 10 residents on Nextdoor who wanted to raise chickens, as well as one person over email who did not want chickens permitted in an urban setting.