MILFORD — When it comes to pets living in residential areas of town, chickens are still on the banned list thanks to a vote by members of the Milford City Council.
The issue was previously brought to light through a letter written to council member Lisa Ingram Peel by occupants of a local residence who wished to raise chickens on their land. The catch? They live in the downtown area where chickens are currently prohibited as pets.
Ms. Peel then brought the correspondence to her fellow council members late last year before it traveled to the Community Affairs Committee and Planning Commission for more in depth discussions.
According to City Planner Rob Pierce, one resident speaking during a Planning Commission meeting in favor of an ordinance which would allow for pet chickens within city limits offered a “point of contention” for members. The resident lives on a parcel of land measuring one-third of an acre, too small for the proposed minimum space needed of 1-acre which would have still accommodated the original residents requesting the change.
A motion was made during the Planning Commission meeting to recommend the ordinance proceed at one-third acreage minimum requirement with a tied three-three vote.
A subsequent motion was made to recommend one-acre as a minimum requirement which also resulted in a tied three-three vote.
Neither motion passed the Planning Commission, leaving it to the Milford City Council without a recommendation for or against the ordinance.
“The same reason that it was a tied vote both times was my initial response when this came through. That’s why it was difficult because, you know, it would end up being discrimination because someone with less land would want the same privileges,” council member Katrina Wilson said.
She added the idea of chickens living in town was shot down years ago because of the close proximity residents can be to their neighbors.
Council member Owen Brooks said he was never bothered when his neighbors had chickens in the past.
“Three of my neighbors had chickens; [it] never bothered me. Sometimes I have 100 geese in my backyard and they still don’t bother me,” he said.
He later supported a motion against the ordinance, saying, “I vote no to the chickens. I have no problems with chickens. I’m supporting the council.”
Five council members voted to deny the ordinance. Ms. Peel and council member Jamie Burk voted in support of the ordinance.
“I don’t see a problem with it. I think we have chickens living in Milford and I don’t think we’re enforcing it,” Ms. Peel said.
Jennifer Antonik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org