Chickens flying the coop over residential statutes?

2013-06-01T20:55:00Z 2013-06-01T22:44:19Z Chickens flying the coop over residential statutes?Chas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5324 nwitimes.com

People doing backyard bird watching aren't likely to see chickens in their subdivisions, but it could become more common if some local residents have their way.

Schererville resident Jeff Wright said he has asked town officials to allow him to continue raising chickens at his home in the 600 block of Christy Lane.

Wright said he wasn't aware he couldn't have chickens there when he started raising them about three months ago.

Following a resident's complaint, Schererville's Animal Control issued an ordinance violation citation to Wright on May 10, Schererville police Cmdr. Brian Neyhart said.

Wright was told at that time he had 30 days to remove the animals from the property. Wright is scheduled to appear in Schererville Town Court on June 11 about the matter, Neyhart said.

Wright said he met with town officials Friday to seek Schererville's approval to raise the five chickens at his house for their eggs and for educational purposes for his daughter. Wright hopes his court case will be continued while Schererville considers his request.

Town Manager Bob Volkmann said Wright could seek a variance from Schererville to have the chickens at his home. That process would involve a public hearing, Volkmann said.

Requests to raise chickens in residential areas of Schererville haven't been brought up before, he said.

If there is more demand for an ordinance allowing the practice throughout the entire town, a potential measure could go before the Town Council for its consideration, he said.

Dyer resident Josh Stebnitz also is seeking the opportunity to raise chickens at his residence. He recently issued a three-page letter to Dyer's Town Council and attended a council meeting to discuss his proposal.

Stebnitz said Chicago, Madison, Wis., and Portland, Ore., are among large cities that allow residents to have backyard chicken coops.

In his letter to the Town Council, he wrote, "backyard eggs are a green and sustainable way for people to feed their families."

Stebnitz said his interaction with Dyer's council "seemed fairly promising."

He said Dyer officials indicated there could be challenges with creating a townwide ordinance if covenants at town subdivisions include provisions prohibiting chickens within the subdivisions.

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