South Bend chicken ordinance filed

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Perhaps it was so it could live within the South Bend city limits.

A proposed ordinance that would allow chickens to be raised in the city has officially been filed.

The proposal is on track to go before the South Bend Common Council for a final vote in November.

“It sounds like there’s some good energy, ready to move forward kind of with the sustainable living idea,” said Karen Schulte-Coman of South Bend.

The Coman family gets a lot of the food it eats from three gardens in its spacious backyard in the city limits of South Bend. But the family still wants more.

“We’ve asked for five to six chickens, hens no roosters,” says Schulte-Coman. “Roosters are the ones that make noise.”

The proposed ordinance would allow up to a half dozen female chickens per residents in South Bend, provided the coup was 20 feet from the nearest home and 15 feet from the lot line.

South Bend does have a lot of small lots so a lot of people will not qualify, however, we are thinking that there aren’t going to be a huge mass number of people who want chickens to begin with, it’s a small but growing movement,” said Schulte-Coman.

Supporters argue that chickens produce no more noise or waste than most animals the city already allows, like dogs.

“It's not a wild idea, I think that we're tagging onto a movement that happened in America over the last five years and you have Chicago, San Francisco and other large cities that have had urban chickens being introduced into their city limits,” said South Bend Councilman Henry Davis, Jr., (D) 2nd District.

While supporters have been working since 2009 to gain community backing, it’s clear the community is not 100 percent behind the proposal.

“I think that everything that goes with chickens including the smell, possible disease, noise, I think that it’s not right for this particular area,” said Michael Krieger of the Sunnymede neighborhood.

“I just don’t think it’s necessary,” said Leslie Krieger. “I mean we've got a great farmer's market like in this neighborhood and you can go there Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and get eggs fresh from the farm.”

The chicken ordinance has been filed before the St. Joseph County Area Plan Commission and is scheduled for a public hearing and consideration at a meeting on October 16th.

The commission typically makes a favorable or unfavorable recommendation in order to provide guidance for the city council.

The proposal is on track for a final vote before the South Bend Common Council in November.


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