PORTAGE — Chickens, ducks and rabbits won't be welcomed residents of the city, at least for now.
An ordinance allowing residents to raise two of each of the animals at their homes failed to pass after three council members changed their minds.
"Once it was made public, I got a lot of phone calls and emails," said council member Scott Williams, D-3rd, who had voted in favor of the ordinance upon its first reading about two weeks ago.
Williams and fellow council members Collin Czilli, D-5th, and Sue Lynch, D-at large, said the majority of the response they received from residents was against the adoption of the ordinance.
The ordinance was proposed by councilman John Cannon, R-4th, as a compromise after the council had voted down an ordinance last year that would have allowed residents to raise up to four chickens at their home.
Cannon said he proposed the compromise because he wanted Portage youngsters to be able to participate in 4-H programs involved raising the small creatures. The proposed ordinance did not limit ownership to 4-H members.
Cannon said he had consulted people involved in 4-H.
Czilli said he reviewed the Porter County 4-H guidebook, which recommended members raise 10 chickens at a time.
"We changed the ordinance to be for 4-H, but it doesn't meet requirements for 4-H. I have more concerns than I had two weeks ago," Czilli said.
Lynch said residents brought up issues she had not thought of when she initially voted in favor of the ordinance, including lot size, disposal of waste and other concerns.
Council President Mark Oprisko, D-at large, said the proposed ordinance doesn't specify materials used in construction of shelters and he was concerned that he didn't "want people throwing something up with scrap."
"We are not saying no to chickens. We have to look at the ordinance more in depth. There are too many questions. We are not shutting the door," Czilli said.