First glance at urban chickens

The South Bend Common Council passed a bill Monday night allowing residential, single-family homes to have up to 6 hens in their backyard. The Urban Chicken legislation passed 6-3, and now awaits the mayor's signature.

After much dispute, the bill says non-commercial residences that own chickens within city limits must also keep them in a closed coop, 15 feet from property lines, and 20 feet from a neighbor's home. An annual permit, which costs about $20, is also required.

Newscenter 16 spoke with key players in the chicken dispute Tuesday, after the bill was passed to see how the community, especially those interested in chickens, will move forward.

"I think this is a positive thing. I've actually lived in 2 cities where they had chicken bills," said Mitch Yaciw, the manager at Unity Gardens and a proponent of the chicken bill. "I think, some of the detractors... was property values. Cities like Austin, Texas, Phoenix, Arizona, Indianapolis [are] all desirable places to live. [They] all have open chicken bills."

"Ultimately it's a good thing to have a city that's moving forward instead of staying stagnant," said Yaciw.

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