Porter Town Council hears from chicken petitioners

2014-05-14T11:30:00Z 2014-05-15T14:05:20Z Porter Town Council hears from chicken petitionersHeather Augustyn Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
May 14, 2014 11:30 am  • 

PORTER | Porter resident Laura Madigan asked the Porter Town Council on Tuesday night to allow backyard chickens for residents of the town.

Madigan addressed concerns that the council had last year when approached by other residents making the request, which fell off the agenda without decision.

She said she already has six chickens in her yard despite a ban on them on residential property smaller than five acres and they have not been a problem. She argued they would not reduce property value, and said that other pets would have issues similar to chickens.

Resident Norman Tapper argued against allowing chickens and said that Madigan is not asking to allow chickens in Porter, but to allow her to have chickens “which she already has illegally. They constructed a chicken coop without permit. We are on a well and excrement from the chickens may be washed by rain downhill.”

He made arguments against having residential chickens including runoff into well water and the contraction of histoplasmosis and SARS.

Tapper said his wife, who was raised around chickens, has contracted histoplasmosis and has a black spot on her lung.

Michael Madigan, husband of the petitioner, said that histoplasmosis is not a concern because it is not a large chicken farm they propose, “dog feces are more of a pollutant than anything,” and that chickens promote a sustainable lifestyle.

“It would showcase our town, perhaps attract some more forward-thinking people to our town,” he said.

Council member David Wodrich voiced his support of “one or two chickens with the proper coop” and member Elka Nelson suggested adding the issue to the agenda to allow the public to weigh in now that it has been introduced.

“Is it a nuisance or isn’t it a nuisance? I understand the desire to have chickens and the green issue, but whenever we pass an ordinance we’re talking about the people who live on properties with a little more land who won’t have the coop under their neighbor’s window, as well as the people who have 25-foot lots and the only place they have put the coop is adjacent to their neighbors windows, so we have to come up with a formula,” said Nelson.

She said, “The bottom line is, do you want to live next door to chickens?” and added that in the meantime they have an enforcement issue.

The council agreed to discuss the issue at the June 24 meeting in a formal discussion after having time to review the issue.

In other business, the council approved an application from the Duneland Business Initiative Group for a parade at 9 a.m. July 4, which has a theme of “Old Glory,” and they contributed $500 from CEDIT for the Family 4th Fest.

Assistant Fire Chief Jay Craig said that training for a mass casualty train accident will take place at 8 a.m. May 31 at the South Shore station, sponsored by NICTD for emergency personnel and regional hospitals and nearby roads may be closed for the mock situation.

The pedestrian bridge over U.S. 20 is now open and a ribbon cutting will soon take place, said Michael Barry building commissioner/director of development.

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