DYER | Josh Stebnitz would like to raise chickens in his backyard so he and his family can enjoy fresh eggs at breakfast.
Problem is he lives within Dyer's corporate limits. But town leaders seem willing to hear his proposal.
Stebnitz attended May’s Town Council study session armed with information and a sample ordinance from Madison, Wis., one large American city that allows backyard chickens.
“We are aware of your (earlier) letter,” Town Council President Joe Cinko said.
Cinko and other council members appeared willing to consider Stebnitz’s request during a future meeting.
Chicago, Portland, Seattle and Madison are among the communities that permit backyard chickens, Stebnitz said. Locally, Naperville, Indianapolis, South Bend and Fort Wayne also allow them, he said.
Madison’s ordinance allows up to four hens per unit, at a permit cost of $25 a year for the homeowner.
Stebnitz said fresh eggs are healthy, organic, inexpensive and educational.
He also acknowledged the downsides of raising chickens in an urban setting.
Key to keeping them from becoming a nuisance is not acquiring a rooster. Roosters make all the noise, he said, and they aren’t a requirement for hens to produce eggs.
Four or five hens shouldn’t make any more noise than a dog would, he said.
There are natural predators in the area, so the chickens would have to be kept in a coop.
The Indiana Association of Cities and Towns is hosting a webinar soon that will cover issues such as backyard fowl, Town Administrator Rick Eberly said. One obstacle to an ordinance permitting chickens would be the covenants already in place in Dyer’s newer subdivisions.
Stebnitz lives in Berens Monaldi, one of Dyer’s oldest neighborhoods. Berens Monaldi is unlikely to have a covenant forbidding chickens.
But if other subdivisions do, town ordinance cannot override the covenants, Town Attorney Bill Enslen said.