PORTAGE — Residents won't be able to raise chickens in their backyards any time soon.
The City Council recently denied approving an ordinance that would have allowed residents to have up to four hens in a chicken coop in their backyard.
The issue divided the council at a recent meeting.
"I've talked to numerous people. I don't think this is something we want," Councilwoman Liz Modesto, D-1st, said, adding she had spoken with the city's code enforcement officer who did not favor the idea.
Councilman Pat Clem, D-2nd, who had voted in favor of sending the ordinance to the full council during an ordinance committee meeting, said he was also against the idea after talking with the city's animal control officer. Clem said he was concerned the chickens could attract predatory wildlife, like coyotes or hawks.
"If a 4-H child would like to have four chickens for a project, this would exclude them," Councilman John Cannon, R-4th, said, adding he had hoped to expand the ordinance by allowing even more previously restricted animals such as ducks and rabbits.
Council President Mark Oprisko, D-at large, said he was concerned about property values.
"The property values have not gone down in Valparaiso because of people having four chickens," Cannon said.
Modesto, Clem, Oprisko and Councilman Scott Williams, D-3rd, voted to deny the ordinance. Cannon and council members Collin Czilli, D-5th, and Sue Lynch, D-at large, voted against denying the ordinance.