City Of Bartlesville To Consider Allowing Backyard Chicken Coops

Tuesday, October 22nd 2013, 10:32 pm
By: News On 6

One Green Country city is considering a new ordinance to allow people to raise chickens in their backyards.

The "urban chicken movement" has been popular in other cities in Oklahoma, and now it's being discussed in Bartlesville.

The issue was raised before the city's planning commission Tuesday night.

With the existing laws on the books in Bartlesville, there simply isn't a way you can raise hens in your backyard.

"People want fresh eggs, they want to know where their stuff is coming from," said chicken owner Alicia Wiggins.

Wiggins is one of many chicken owners living with a dilemma. She loves her chickens and she loves their eggs, but the city laws make it impossible for her to raise them legally.

"What we're proposing is that you would be allowed to keep urban chickens within residential areas of the city limits. There would be a limit based upon how large your lot was," said Lisa Beeman, Bartlesville's Director of Community Development.

Right now, special permits with the city allow for these animals to be raised, but you have to keep your distance--100 feet from any other property.

Beeman said she was approached by Wiggins to allow for urban chickens to be raised.

"As I started looking, [I found] it's not unusual for a city to consider this, and as planning and lifestyle practices have changed to more sustainable and more green-friendly type things, people want to have their own chickens in their backyard for their own family," Beeman said.

Other cities in the area, like Tulsa, allow for up to six hens and 14 chicks.

In Bartlesville, the proposed ordinance would allow for four hens in a small lot and a maximum of 10 in a large lot. Roosters are not allowed in Tulsa or in Bartlesville's proposed ordinance.

Homeowners who are against the proposal are worried about a public health issue, like the odor that comes from chickens.

The city says there would also be cost if the chickens get picked up by animal control.

"They're like dogs, but they give you eggs," Wiggins said.

The ordinance would also allow for classes to educate people would want to raise hens.

The planning commission decided against recommending the proposed ordinance to the city council Tuesday night, but leaders say the city council will consider the issue, regardless.