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by July 2, 2010
We are requesting that our City Council add a zoning ordinance that would allow the people of Oklahoma City to keep up to eight chickens.
This addition to the Municipal Code would provide many benefits to Oklahoma City. Chickens' eggs provide a good, inexpensive source of protein. Chickens eat garden pests, and their waste is an excellent fertilizer. A family allowed to keep chickens can have a heightened awareness of where their food comes from, cut down their grocery bills, reduce the amount of fossils fuels burned to bring their food from distant farms, and increase their self-sufficiency. A city that allows its residents to keep chickens demonstrates a sensible and progressive attitude while encouraging sustainability.
In today's difficult economic times, many cities around the country are changing their city ordinances to allow residents to keep chickens. Several states neighboring Oklahoma have cities which allow residents to keep chickens. For example, in Texas, the cities of Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Laredo, and Round Rock all allow chickens. The cities of Topeka, Kansas, And Denver, Colorado, also permit their residents to keep chickens. Looking a bit further away, even the residents of New York City are allowed to keep chickens, as are the residents of Boston, Chicago, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles.
There are several misconceptions regarding the keeping of chickens. For instance, many people think backyard chickens would be noisy. In fact, chickens are quieter than dogs or even songbirds; roosters, however, are noisy. This proposed zoning addition prohibits the keeping of roosters. Another common misconception is that chickens are smelly or dirty. This proposed zoning addition limits the number of chickens to eight and requires that they be provided with a minimum amount of space (2 to 4 square feet per chicken, depending on size of bird) in a clean and dry hen house, and that they be provided with a fenced outdoor enclosure. When cared for in this way, chickens do not smell bad. By limiting the number of chickens and describing the space in which they can be kept, this proposed zoning addition ensures the happiness of the chickens, their owners, and their neighbors.
Thank you for signing the petition "Allow Chickens in OKC." Your participation helped us show City Council that there truly is an interest in legalizing chickens in OKC. Here is an update on this continuing struggle:
In November of '09, City Council conducted a study of OKC's Peer Cities to see which ones allow chickens. Among those 8 Peer Cities (Austin, El Paso, Ft. Worth, Kansas City, Nashville, St. Louis, Tulsa, and Wichita), only one (Kansas City) doesn't allow chickens on less than one acre. All the others do!
City Council's next step in considering whether to legalize chickens was to figure out a way to get public input in the matter. At first, public meetings were proposed. This sounded like a great way for people on both sides of the issue to work out a compromise. However, for reasons which have not been made clear, the idea of public meetings was scrapped.
About two weeks ago, City Council and the Neighborhood Alliance posted an on-line survey in order to gauge public opinion on the legalization of chickens.
As your next step in helping to legalize chickens, PLEASE FILL OUT THIS SURVEY!! It is on the Neighborhood Alliance's web site, NACOK.org. Please fill it out right away, since it ends Wednesday, and send it to your friends!
In order to send you this email, I am shutting down the petition site (hopefully it will no longer be needed soon anyhow!). For privacy purposes, I do not have access to your email address. If you wish to have further updates on this issue, you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to keep you informed.
Thank you again for your help. If enough people fill out this survey saying "Yes, we want chickens!" it will be a powerful tool to sway City Council.
Keep up the great work. Look what you've accomplished!
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