The odds that Council will chicken out

    As most of you probably already know, Ypsi City Council voted 4 to 3 earlier this month to allow the keeping of chickens in downtown Ypsilanti. In order for the legislation to past, however, it has to clear one more hurdle. It has to be voted on by Council a second time. And that vote will be taking place tonight. Word is, though, it might not go down like last time. Specifically, I hear that councilman Bill Nickles, who initially supported the legislation allowing those in homes and duplexes to keep up to four hens, may be wavering. It seems that the pressure from the anti-urban chicken folks has been building over the past few weeks.

    On the positive side, I hear that council member Lois Richardson, who didn’t support the legislation initially, may be willing to reconsider once certain amendments are made. And, toward that end, I hear that councilmen Robb and Murdock, proponents of the bill, are presently working on language that would assuage her fears. There’s no reason to think, however, from what I’m told, that Council members Michael Bodary and Trudy Swanson might be similarly open-minded on the issue.

    The bottom line is, this is a good thing for Ypsi. And, contrary to what some may think, it’s not a step backward toward hillbillyness. It’s progressive. Folks are even doing it in Ann Arbor, for christsakes. (Ann Arbor’s City Council recently passed an ordinance allowing up to three hens.)

    The bottom line is, unless the pro-urban chicken folks get their shit together today, and start making some calls, it doesn’t look as this is going to happen… Here’s a clip from an email that I just received from our friends at Growing Hope:

    The chicken ordinance for the City of Ypsi has its second reading & public hearing (tonight) during council. After the first public hearing and vote two weeks ago, it was moving forward and seemed like with a few tweaks, would have enough council support to pass. However, in the meantime, a lot of people, especially in the western part of the city (Normal Park & College Heights) have spoken up against it to their council people and the mayor… there’s been enough opposition that it is now iffy if it has enough support to pass.

    The thing about living in a pretty small place is that every email and call to council and mayor has the potential to really count– they really do use the quantity of yays and nays they get on an issue (or at least this one) to decide their vote… and they have not been hearing from enough supporters of chickens. If they don’t hear from enough by (tonight), and during the meeting, the chicken ordinance could be dead.

    If you are supportive of chickens in the city, here’s what you need to do (today)– it can take five minutes but is super crucial right now:

    1) Write and/or call your council member and express your support. Doesn’t have to be long or creative, just make your voice heard. Two lines is fine, more is even better!

    2) Email the mayor also. He wants and needs to hear from people– he also votes on council. His email is mayor@cityofypsilanti.com

    3) Show up at council (tonight) and during the public hearing, say a few words.

    http://cityofypsilanti.com/bd_city-council has email addresses for the council & the cell phone number for the mayor. Lois Richardson doesn’t do email much– her number is 482-2017. Trudy Swanson’s number is 487-3904.

    So, let’s get dialing, Ypsi. If we truly want Ypsi to be a sustainable city, this is a great first step.

    This entry was posted in Agriculture, Civil Liberties, Environment, Food, Sustainability, Ypsilanti and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

      35 Comments

      1. Stella
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        Support the chix.
        My neighbor (2 houses up and across the alley) apparently got his months ago. I didn’t even know they were there until I was told about them recently. They’re innocuous and benign.

      2. Andy Ypsilanti
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        Brian Rob sent this to me, for those who want to read up. This is the newest version, to my knowledge, I recieved 7/20

        Strike-through version with actual mark-ups.

        An ordinance to allow for the keeping of a limited number of female chickens within the City of Ypsilanti .

        1. THE CITY OF YPSILANTI ORDAINS That Section 14-13 of the Ypsilanti City Code be added with the following language:

        Sec. 14-13. Keeping of Female Chickens (Hens)

        (1) Any person who keeps hens in the City of Ypsilanti shall obtain a permit from the City prior to acquiring the hens and pay a $10 permit fee set by City Council. This permit shall be kept by the owner and presented upon demand by any city official or police officer. Permits shall not expire, but are non-transferable and do not run with the land. A permit may be obtained prior to June 1, 2010 by any property owner of a property whose principal use is as a single-family or two-family zoned property dwelling within the City of Ypsilanti . Permits issued prior to June 1, 2010 will expire on July 1, 2011 and be renewable for two years periods.

        (2) Notwithstanding the issuance of a permit by the City, private restrictions on the use of property shall remain enforceable and take precedence over a permit. Private restrictions include, but are not limited to, deed restrictions, condominium master deed restrictions, neighborhood association by-laws and covenant deeds. A permit issued to a person whose property is subject to private restrictions that prohibit the keeping of hens is void. The interpretation and enforcement of the private restriction is the sole responsibility of the private parties involved.

        (3) A person who keeps or houses hens on his or her property shall comply with the following requirements:

        a. Must obtain a permit pursuant to subsection (1) of this section.

        b. Keep no more than 4 hens.

        c. The principal use of the person’s property must be for a single-family dwelling or two-family dwelling.

        d. No person shall keep a male chicken (rooster).

        e. No person shall slaughter any hens.

        f. Any person keeping hens shall remain subject to animal noise controls public nuisance animal controls codified in Section 14-11 of the Ypsilanti Code of Ordinances.

        g. The hens shall be provided with a covered enclosure and must be kept in the covered enclosure or a fenced enclosure at all times. Fenced enclosures are subject to the provisions of Section 122-714 of the Code of Ordinances.

        h. A person shall keep hens in the backyard only. For this subsection, “backyard” means the portion of a lot enclosed by the property’s rear lot line and the side lot lines to the points where the side lot lines intersect with an imaginary line established by the rear of the single-family or two-family structure and extending to the side lot lines.

        i. All enclosures for the keeping of hens shall be constructed, repaired and maintained in a manner to prevent rats, mice, or other rodents from being harbored underneath, within, or within the walls of the enclosure.

        j. All feed and other items associated with the keeping of hens that are likely to attract or to become infested shall be so protected so as to prevent rats, mice, or other rodents from gaining access to or coming into contact with them.

        k. Chicken coops and enclosures shall be at least 20 feet from any residential structure not owned by the permitee unless written permission is granted from the owner of the affected residential structure.

        (4) If the requirements of subjection (3) are not fully complied with, the City may revoke any permit granted under this section and/or initiate prosecution for a civil infraction violation

        And 2. that Section 14-7 be amended as follows:

        Sec. 14-7. Restrictions on keeping certain animals.

        (a) Pets. No owners shall keep or house any animals or domestic fowl, within the city except dogs, cats, nonpoisonous insects, female chickens as allowed in Section 14-13, and captive-bred species of rodents, common cage birds, cage birds kept pursuant to license under state or federal law, including but not limited to Michigan Act 451, PA of 1994, as amended, and the Wildlife Conservation Order as amended and under the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR), including but not limited to 50CFF 13 subpart D and 50 CFR; 1.28 and 21.29, nonpoisonous aquarium reptiles, aquarium amphibians, and aquarium fish commonly classified as pets and which are customarily kept or housed inside dwellings as household pets.

        (b) Wild animals.

        (1) No person shall own, possess, or have custody on his premises any wild or vicious animal for display, training, or exhibition purposes, whether gratuitously or for a fee. This section shall not be construed to apply to AAZPA accredited facilities or cage birds kept under state or federal license.

        (2) No person shall keep or permit to be kept any wild animal as a pet.

        (3) The licensing authority may grant temporary permits for the keeping of infant wild animals. However, the licensing authority shall have the power to release or order the release of any infant wild animal under temporary permit that is deemed capable of survival.

        (c) Bees. No owner shall keep or possess any apiary containing any stands or hives of bees except as provided by chapter 122.

        (d) Municipal civil infraction. A person who violates any provision of this section is responsible for a municipal civil infraction, subject to payment of a civil fine as set forth in section 70-38. Repeat offenses under this section shall be subject to increased fines as set forth in section 70-38.

        (Ord. No. 1020, 12-6-2005)

        I apologize if you’ve already received this from other sources.

        On Tuesday, July 21st, City Council will have the second reading on the ordinance to allow the keeping of hens in the City. At the July 7th meeting, the ordinance passed on first reading by a 4-3 vote with Bodary, Richardson, and Swanson-Winston voting no. Since that time, west side forces have mobilized and Council member Nickels has announced his intention to vote against the ordinance on second reading. In addition, due to family obligations, Council member Bodary will not be at the meeting.

        This means if everything stays the same, the vote will result in a 3-3 tie and the ordinance will be defeated.

        I do not believe Mayor Pro-Tem Swanson-Winston will support owning chickens. This means that if you want this to pass in the City, we need to lobby Council member Lois Richardson. She can be reached on her cell phone at 734.972.3673. Council member Richardson’s initial aversion to the ordinance stemmed from issues with set-backs and the possible relationship of chicken coops to residential property. We will proposing amendments to the ordinance to address that and other concerns. I’ve attached a strike-through version at the bottom of this note.

        If you have any questions, please let me know. Thanks.

        Brian

        An ordinance to allow for the keeping of a limited number of female chickens within the City of Ypsilanti .

        1. THE CITY OF YPSILANTI ORDAINS That Section 14-13 of the Ypsilanti City Code be added with the following language:

        Sec. 14-13. Keeping of Female Chickens (Hens)

        (1) Any person who keeps hens in the City of Ypsilanti shall obtain a permit from the City prior to acquiring the hens and pay a $10 permit fee set by City Council. This permit shall be kept by the owner and presented upon demand by any city official or police officer. Permits shall not expire, but are non-transferable and do not run with the land. A permit may be obtained prior to June 1, 2010 by any property owner of a property whose principal use is as a single-family or two-family zoned property dwelling within the City of Ypsilanti . Permits issued prior to June 1, 2010 will expire on July 1, 2011 and be renewable for two years periods.

        (2) Notwithstanding the issuance of a permit by the City, private restrictions on the use of property shall remain enforceable and take precedence over a permit. Private restrictions include, but are not limited to, deed restrictions, condominium master deed restrictions, neighborhood association by-laws and covenant deeds. A permit issued to a person whose property is subject to private restrictions that prohibit the keeping of hens is void. The interpretation and enforcement of the private restriction is the sole responsibility of the private parties involved.

        (3) A person who keeps or houses hens on his or her property shall comply with the following requirements:

        a. Must obtain a permit pursuant to subsection (1) of this section.
        b. Keep no more than 4 hens.
        c. The principal use of the person’s property must be for a single-family dwelling or two-family dwelling.
        d. No person shall keep a male chicken (rooster).
        e. No person shall slaughter any hens.
        f. Any person keeping hens shall remain subject to animal noise controls public nuisance animal controls codified in Section 14-11 of the Ypsilanti Code of Ordinances.
        g. The hens shall be provided with a covered enclosure and must be kept in the covered enclosure or a fenced enclosure at all times. Fenced enclosures are subject to the provisions of Section 122-714 of the Code of Ordinances.
        h. A person shall keep hens in the backyard only. For this subsection, “backyard” means the portion of a lot enclosed by the property’s rear lot line and the side lot lines to the points where the side lot lines intersect with an imaginary line established by the rear of the single-family or two-family structure and extending to the side lot lines.
        i. All enclosures for the keeping of hens shall be constructed, repaired and maintained in a manner to prevent rats, mice, or other rodents from being harbored underneath, within, or within the walls of the enclosure.
        j. All feed and other items associated with the keeping of hens that are likely to attract or to become infested shall be so protected so as to prevent rats, mice, or other rodents from gaining access to or coming into contact with them.
        k. Chicken coops and enclosures shall be at least 20 feet from any residential structure not owned by the permitee unless written permission is granted from the owner of the affected residential structure.

        (4) If the requirements of subjection (3) are not fully complied with, the City may revoke any permit granted under this section and/or initiate prosecution for a civil infraction violation

        And 2. that Section 14-7 be amended as follows:

        Sec. 14-7. Restrictions on keeping certain animals.
        (a) Pets. No owners shall keep or house any animals or domestic fowl, within the city except dogs, cats, nonpoisonous insects, female chickens as allowed in Section 14-13, and captive-bred species of rodents, common cage birds, cage birds kept pursuant to license under state or federal law, including but not limited to Michigan Act 451, PA of 1994, as amended, and the Wildlife Conservation Order as amended and under the Code of Federal Regulation (CFR), including but not limited to 50CFF 13 subpart D and 50 CFR; 1.28 and 21.29, nonpoisonous aquarium reptiles, aquarium amphibians, and aquarium fish commonly classified as pets and which are customarily kept or housed inside dwellings as household pets.
        (b) Wild animals.
        (1) No person shall own, possess, or have custody on his premises any wild or vicious animal for display, training, or exhibition purposes, whether gratuitously or for a fee. This section shall not be construed to apply to AAZPA accredited facilities or cage birds kept under state or federal license.
        (2) No person shall keep or permit to be kept any wild animal as a pet.
        (3) The licensing authority may grant temporary permits for the keeping of infant wild animals. However, the licensing authority shall have the power to release or order the release of any infant wild animal under temporary permit that is deemed capable of survival.
        (c) Bees. No owner shall keep or possess any apiary containing any stands or hives of bees except as provided by chapter 122.
        (d) Municipal civil infraction. A person who violates any provision of this section is responsible for a municipal civil infraction, subject to payment of a civil fine as set forth in section 70-38. Repeat offenses under this section shall be subject to increased fines as set forth in section 70-38.
        (Ord. No. 1020, 12-6-2005)

      3. Andy Ypsilanti
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        Um, ok, I didn’t realise I posted Brian’s attached letter as well. I had two simmilar emails and I didn’t double check them before I posted. If this offends anyone, I appologize now. Let this be a lesson; proofread your posts well.

        That said, Mr. Robb lays it out pretty clearly. Forces in the city are once again linning up against change. The keeping of chickens with-in city limits is not a new idea, but it certainly is a progressive one. And here we are again, having to go to battle on a progressive issue. If we want to work to make our city a better place for all of us, we need to get up off of the couch and walk on over to city hall. Support urban farming. Support change for the better in our city!

        Do I really think that having chickens in the city is going to save us from future finacial doom? No. But it is one step in making up look like an atractive, progressive city to make a home. Chickens, music festivals, entertainment districts, art fairs, it can all start to add up and bring in us to the “Hipsilanti” status that seemed like such a popular idea. You can’t be a “hip city” or “cool city” with out progressive ideas and a city government that supports them.

        The status quo has brought us to where we are; services declining, taxes skyrocketing, and a budget that is starting to sprial into massive deficits. How can we convince councilmembers Nickles, Robinson, and Bodary, and mayor Pro-Tem Swanson-Winston, and indeed, the rest of our city government and citizens, that change is our best survival strategy.

      4. Andy Ypsilanti
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        Oh, and if you’re keeping score, we’ll also be talking Water Street tonight…

      5. ZP
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        Please people!!! Get involved . . . go to the council meeting tonight & speak out to have Chickens legalized.

        I’m out of town and it’s killing me that I can’t be there tonight. I called the mayor, emailed the entire council & will be calling Councilmember Richardson shortly. I hope that a bunch of you will do the same.

        Wherever chickens are outlawed only outlaws will have chickens!
        ZP

      6. ZP
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        ESPECIALLY if you live in College Heights or Normal Park!!

      7. Mike want longr name
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        OK, let’s hope they pass it. But if not, who cares? Just ignore them. Talk to your neighbors, get the chickens anyway, and citations be damned. Ignoring arbitrary laws is so much cooler (and yes, younger and “hipper”) than waiting for city council to stop being stupid.

      8. Andy Ypsilanti
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        Mike, it might be “cooler” to break the law, but it certainly doesn’t get us moving forward as a city. I’d like to think it’s cool and hip to stand up for what you belive is right, and to make your city a better place for all of us. Silly, I know, but one can dream right?

      9. Lisele
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        I sent my letter yesterday to my Ward 2 reps and the mayor. This is a step towards sustainability, better health, self-sufficiency, local food, and community building. I have to work tonight, thus I can’t be there. PLEASE turn out and make your wishes known. It’s the responsibility of the people to educate our representatives in a democratic society — so let’s do that.

      10. Curt Waugh
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, I just don’t get this whole issue. I don’t understand, other than just to say that you did it, why chickens seem to be the crop of choice. I don’t understand why this is called “progressive” either. As that has been more of a political term than anything else, I don’t understand why this is political.

        Nothing in this ordinance says anything about odors. Sure, they stick to the noise ordinance, but that’s rarely enforced (as you can witness by all the barking dogs all over the place). Nothing in this ordinance says what folks are going to do with dead chickens. Yeah, you can’t slaughter, but these things don’t live forever. And the idea that you can keep vermin from these sites is, at best, a joke. Nature finds a way. I kill-trap mice in my garage. I suppose I’ll just have to kill a bunch more, right? Do I get to bill my neighbor for this service? Seriously. Have you really thought through all the disputes this might bring up.

        And as I understand it, the height of sustainability is plants as food, not animals. Again, how is raising meat/eggs a good idea? Please vegetarians, speak up here. Am I missing something?

        Sorry folks, I’m very much against this ordinance. I live in Normal Park and I’m not politically aligned. I just really don’t want chickens anywhere near my back yard. Period. There are enough dogs and cats running around for all of us. The vast majority of the country allows chickens. Only urban areas ban them. There are plenty of places you can raise chickens. Have a ball!

        You folks who are for this ordinance should perhaps be a little more judicious about criticizing those of us who are opposed to it. I’m reading a lot into your posts about how you see the “no’s” and it sure seems like you’re digging in rather than trying to sell us all on a good idea.

        Saying this is “progressive” is the single biggest turn-off I have read. (Oh, and I love “stop being stupid” — Thanks Mike for calling me stupid for having a personal opinion.) “Forces in the city are once again linning up against change.” WTF? This sounds like a bad SciFi movie. Did you ever think maybe we just don’t like it and don’t think chickens will do shit to make us a cool city. How in the hell do you expect to tie this issue to declining revenues and the city’s survival? What a bunch of hype!

        Lisele actually tries to make some positive points, but no data. How is this sustainable? You will continue to buy feed and vet care and equipment. All for some eggs. Where is the sustainability loop here? How much better health? How will it build community?

        I guess the rest of you boys would rather taunt and name call. Heck Mark, even you say things like “this is a good thing” and “it’s progressive”. How? Why? What is so magical about chickens? (And please, save the “even Ann Arbor does it” hooey. You’re better than that.)

        I’m cranky. I don’t want no damn chickens. Fire away…

      11. stef
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        eh seriously what time is the council meeting im tonight running out of steam looking for a time….

      12. Andy Ypsilanti
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        Curt,
        Ok, where do I start. First, this is considered a progressive idea because of the urban farming movement. More than substainability, people are worried about the source of their food. If you have ever seen a large scale chicken farm, you know that most are disgusting. They house thousands of chicken in deplorable conditions. Small scale, personal fariming allows people get their eggs, and sometime meat, from their own back yard. No more worries about where the food comes from and if it is safe. Many cities, such as Ann Arbor and Seattle, Wa. have passed this type of ordance with great success. It’s not the chickens that are progressive, it’s the Urban Farming movement, a movement we can be on the leading edge of, atracting tax paying urban farmers. Yes, vegetables are the most substainable food source, but I think you would have a hard time getting every one in the country to go vegetarian. And yes, this would be a change for our city. And here you are standing against it. That doesn’t seem very sci-fi.

        As for problems caused by your neighboors having chickens, it kind of sound like you would like your neighboors as far away as possible, with paved lawns and houses sealed for your protection with no pets at all allowed. Here we go
        1. Hens are not very noisy. Four hens would make less noise than one dog, and dogs are nearly unregulated.
        2. You take your “old” chickens that don’t produce eggs to a slaugher house/meat processor, just as all small farmers do. The ordanance prevents slaughter by citizens, not all together. Alternatively, there are lots of farms that will take chickens to fatten them up for food. Maybe even in trade for new chicks.
        3.A small coop with four chickens would be no different than a dog run in smell and sanitation, and would house no more varmits that a dog house. Most would be less inviting to mice, as they tend to be up off the ground.

        4.If we all had to ask our neighboors every time we did something, we start to loose our freedom. Should you have to ask your neighboor if it’s ok to mow your lawn at 8am? If it’s ok to put up a swing set for your kids? Private property is just that; private. You can do as you wish within the law.

        The long and short. Some people don’t want chickens. Some do. If we continue to not do things in this city because some people don’t like it, we will be in trouble. Nothing will get done, ever. You ask the pro chicken side prove why we think that this is a good idea. Well, I ask you to prove to me why it’s a bad idea. There is nothing magical about chickens. As I said before, to many, it is just a building block in an improved Ypsilanti.

        Come to think of it, the anti-anything movements in this town always seem to say “show me the proof”. Well, if you’d let us try some of these ideas out, we can all decide for ourselves if it was good idea or not.

        Read the ordinance. All the bases are coverd. Noise, smell, property proximity. This is turning into a battle on personal property rights. Some want the right to raise a couple chickens. Who are you (in general, not just you Curt) to tell them what they can do, with in the law, in their own back yard?

      13. Amanda
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

        council meeting is at 7 pm

      14. ypsiPawz
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        So what’s the verdict?

      15. Geoff Atucky
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

        Chicken ordinance passed unanimously.

      16. Mike want longr name
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, Curt, nothing meant at you. I try to reserve my ad hominem attacks solely for elected officials. This is a tough call, I agree, but my concern is more with the method used to resolve disputes. That’s why I said “talk to your neighbors” and specifically directed my insult at our city government.

        You do raise a lot of good points regarding the scope of property rights. You can’t toss trash into your neighbor’s yard, so let’s talk about how smell and sound are different.

        Some property rights theories hold that unowned resources become owned by “homesteading,” the mixing of one’s labor with a new resource. One might argue that a sleep study lab homesteads a certain amount of silence or sound rights by moving into a remote area and that new neighbors moving in would have to respect those rights by not producing an amount of sound that interferes with the sleep studies. Residential housing might be ok, but a jackhammer testing site would not be. Conversely, the jackhammer testing site could do the same, and you couldn’t move in next door and start complaining about the noise. You can’t “move to the nuisance.”

        Are smells a property rights violation? Who chooses what are “good” smells and what are “bad” smells? Some people like farm smells, some don’t. I really don’t like the smell of KFC, and wouldn’t move within a block. Most people would agree that a bakery is a “good” smell, but a diet center or gym would still have a good reason to oppose it.

        My concern is less with some “progressive” line about “sustainability,” but more about the fear that at some point soon we won’t have the luxury of a quirky little debate about chickens. We printed up a lot of money to pay people to replace farmland with subdivisions, and that’s going to catch up to us sometime. The consumer price index for June was up 0.7%, annualized to a staggering 8.4% inflation rate. I hope enough people still remember the 70s, but I don’t think that price controls and the accompanying food shortages are out of the question.

        But who knows what the solution is. Sustainability, local food, what makes the city “cool,” none of these should really enter into what top down edict our magnanimous council renders upon us. No matter how the vote went tonight, some parties will feel, probably rightly so, that the outcome is a violation of their property rights. Let’s talk about that instead, so that we can talk to each other over our fences like adults instead of relying on the city citation officer and some myth about the magic of a “democratic society.”

      17. sitterhitter
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

        ooozie me give me finger flipping crud for some one bad apples! Yum yum!

      18. Mike want longr name
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

        Hard to follow that gem from sitterhitter, but…

        From the YpsiCiti twitter feed:

        “Chicken ordinance passed unanimously. Story to come. Watch the rest of the meeting live: http://ypsiciti.com

      19. Brackinald Achery
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

        Good.

      20. Paul Schreiber
        Posted July 22, 2009 at 5:18 am | Permalink

        Thanks to everyone who commented here on Mark’s blog, sent emails, made phone calls, or spoke at the city council meeting. Your participation is helping the city of Ypsilanti move forward.

        Paul Schreiber
        734-277-5446

      21. Posted July 22, 2009 at 6:37 am | Permalink

        Sustainability is a practice that has zero or few negative impacts on the environment and can be continued indefinitely without harm. Growing our chickens and eggs in towers of tiny cage drawers, 8 to 12 chickens per drawer, de-beaked, never allowed outdoors, intensively medicated to keep down disease (resulting in resistant organisms), and chemically flushing the droppings to outdoor reeking holding ponds is not sustainable. Shipping the eggs and meat hundreds of miles causes pollution and emissions resulting in global warming and is not sustainable. To say nothing of the chemicals those “food products” contain that we are then ingesting.

        Urban agriculture (producing food in your own yard) whether animal-based or vegetable-based is MUCH more sustainable. It is progressive in the sense that industrial agriculture has been a failure. I don’t have numbers at my fingertips, but pesticide use in our food system is astronomically high, causing residues and drift as far as the arctic, we use 10 calories of energy to produce 1 calorie of food, our powdered dead topsoil is eroding at alarming rates due to chemical fertilization, shipping food from other hemispheres is terribly damaging to our planet, politics still governs who gets fed and who starves, low-income areas are fresh food deserts (ever been in an Detroit supermarket? ), use of antibiotics and hormones has caused blowback effects on human health, and on and on. A truck driver’s strike caused the UK to go into a food crisis within just 3 days, due to the long supply chains that make up our food system. Local, homegrown food is better, cleaner, provides exercise, builds community, is more sustainable. Suggested reading: Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan or Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.

        I’m ecstatic that council made the progressive choice to build local self-reliance and community resilience. It’s in line with recommendations of the Ypsi 2020 Task Force, which saw relocalizing our food system as an important goal. Thank you, City Council. Even tho I won’t be keeping chickens, I sure expect to be trading with those who do.

      22. Haunted Chicken Coop
        Posted July 22, 2009 at 6:39 am | Permalink

        This is true progress. I think maybe there should be some education in-place (not sure if this is planned or underway?) on handling/containment of poultry.

        In regard to subsection G – cages/containment – interesting how this can amp up other economies. I know a man in southeastern Michigan who has recently been constructing chicken cages/coops and has seen increased demand. Not sure if it’s from Ypsilanti or if anyone there is already in this business, but I’m sure he’d build for your town as well.

      23. Curt Waugh
        Posted July 22, 2009 at 6:51 am | Permalink

        Well, congrats to the pro-chicken folks. Looks like you rallied the council. Thank you to those of you who answered my questions. I’m still very much against this ordinance, but I can understand your desire for it. I hope, now that we have it, that the idea is a net positive for the city, but I still have my doubts.

        Paraphrasing Mike, I moved into a neighborhood without chickens and now the chickens have moved to me. Does that make me their “nuisance?” I’ll be sure to let the little peckers know who was here first.

      24. Posted July 22, 2009 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        Legal urban chicken eggs really help to cover up the aftertaste of Ypsitucky-gate.

        Now for some urban honey and urban goat’s milk to really wash it down! Mmmm!

        My love of Ypsi is returning.

      25. Curt Waugh
        Posted July 22, 2009 at 8:13 am | Permalink

        Wait, bees?!! See? First it’s chickens, then it’s bees, then flies, then spiders, then birds, then cats, then dogs, then GOATS, then cows, then horses. Then we’re all dead. This is not good.

      26. Ypsiosaurus Wrecks
        Posted July 22, 2009 at 8:41 am | Permalink

        “Progressive” would be legalizing prostitution and marijuana – both of which can be found steps from city hall and more prevalent in Ypsi than chickens. Passing this ordinace gives the impression of progress to a city that is on it’s knees due to consistently bad decision making.

        The sustainability argument is weak – animal farming contributes heavily to green house gas emissions. Our local activist Peter Thomason – is unwilling or unable to show any data that supports his position. “my research is ongoing” is all he has offered. Sounds like bullshit to me….

        I wholeheartedly support urban agriculture – but draw the line with animals. Do the research – crunch the numbers – go Vegan.

      27. dragon
        Posted July 22, 2009 at 8:55 am | Permalink

        Come on Curt take the initiative. Get in on the ground floor. Franchises for the local area still available.

        http://hatchingspiders.com/index.php?p=1_3_About
        Warning, link plays music when open, softly and pleasant though .

        About Mama’s Spider Hatchery

        Mama’s Spider Hatchery is a Spider Hatching organization dedicated to hatching spiders in the most efficient and safest possible manner while still providing the highest quality hatching spiders experience. We are located in the foothills of Appalachia but we are ready, willing, and able to move at a moments notice. If you would like to see Mama’s Spider Hatchery in your area send me a letter at booking@hatchingspiders.com.

        Happy Hatching,

        Mama

      28. ZP
        Posted July 22, 2009 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        My chickens & I are very excited.

        Chickens are progressive because they almost always vote for progressive candidates. My chickens were divided on Obama but they just love Howard Dean for some reason. You have to watch out for the Rhode Island Reds though – they have a strong libertarian streak.

      29. Andy Ypsilanti
        Posted July 22, 2009 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        Ypsiosaurus, I wish you luck in convincing all the people of the world to go vegan. Personaly, I was a strict vegitarian for 8 years, and I eventualy was wooed back by the taste of fresh seafood and, as Anthony Bourdain would say, meat in tube form. I still eat litte meat, but I like to have the option. The point is, you can’t say this isn’t a progessive step because you don’t think it’s progressive enough. We have taken a stand to support small, personal, and urban farming, the first step down a long road to seperate “factory” and “farm”. What position of Mr. Thompson’s are you refering to? That small farming is less environmentaly damaging than factory farming? That’s not a hard conclusion to draw, as illustrated by Lisele’s post.

        I would like to take a moment to thank Brian Robb and especialy Pete Murdock for the work they put in on this. With all the Robb/Murdock bashing of late, this goes to show that you need to choose your battles, comments, and allies wisely. We might be totaly at odds on the next issue, or we might be fighting together again. Ya’ just don’t know. I would also like to thank the mayor for his ongoing support of this bill, and council member Robinson for sticking to her word and changing her vote to “yes” after her concerns with the bill were addressed.

        I would like to single out Councilman Nickles for his carefull consideration of this issue. During the first reading, he voted no, stating that while he was not neccecarily opposed to it, but his constuants were. This time around, he took a look at the ordinance, walked through the concerns and how they had been met by amendments to the bill, and stated that he could not find a legitamate reason to opose it, and then gave us a yes vote. I would like to thank him for this thoughtfull vote, and providing a full explanation of his vote to his constiuants.

        Last, I want to note what we didn’t see. There was an important presentation and vote on Water Street last night. We first saw the proposed street/utillity plan, and then heard about plans for zoning and plans for sale of the property and proposed buyers. I understand Counciman Bodery
        was called away on family buisness, and an occasional absence is understandable. But where was mayor pro tem Swanson-Winston? I have been to five or six council meetings, all in a row, and she has missed two of those. Is this a pattern? At the last council meeting, she kept trying to table the chicken motion instead of discussing it. When that didn’t happen, it looked to me like she started reading the news paper! If we want to talk about council people not doing the things we want, can we please talk about the ones who don’t seem to care at all what’s going on?

      30. Posted July 22, 2009 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        Andy,
        Just wanted to let you know that Swanson, Richardson and Bodary voted against the ordinance on its first reading. The only Councilmember to change his or her vote on the second reading was Richardson.

      31. the injector
        Posted July 22, 2009 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        it is sustainable. more sustainable than all the packaged soy shit that so many vegans consume by the hoards and then try to get all political on my ass. sorry to say, but big ag soy or little ag soy is bad for the planet–just look at the desert left behind in a field of soy or corn; once thriving and living soil is destroyed.

        the science you want to verify mr. thomason’s claims that small urban ag is sustainable is the same science that got us in the mess we are in today. i can look out my window and see that the cycles of life are much healthier than they were before i moved into this house and started working on creating a more edible/non-invasive/varied yard. i do not need western research or science to confirm what i can see with my own two eyes.

        I do not mean to totally dis science, but it is often overrated and used to perpetuate harmful systems of being.

        how many gallons of potable water did it take to make your vegan soft drinks? how much land was devasted in the production of corn to go into your vegan packaged snack food?

        caring for a few chickens and gleaning their eggs for sustenance is not unethical. My chickens will be well cared for and my yard will continue to be well kept and it will not stink. and the dog kennel behind my house will continue to be one thousand times louder than the chickens in my backyard.

        the creation of this ordinance was a step toward creating a healthier ypsi in all dimensions–i guess we can call that progress, but we really do not need to.

        If you want some well reasoned (with a bit of science to support it) thought about sustainability go listen to Bill Wilson’s talk on permaculture on Friday, July 24 from 6:30-9:30 at EMU’s Business School on MI AVE.
        Permaculture means permanent culture that encompasses more than food production and strives to create harmonious relationships with all aspects of sustaining our lives. It is a system where wastes become resources, where the advantages of our natural resources are maximized by learning to mimic ecosystems, and plants work together to create more productivity through less human effort. To learn more about the 3-hour Introduction to Permaculture, visit http://www.midwestpermaculture.com/IntroductorySeminar.php

      32. Posted July 22, 2009 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        I can’t wait till I can stop hiding my sheep flock in the basement like a criminal and start grazing them in Riverside Park. They’re getting kinda haggard looking down there.

      33. Posted July 22, 2009 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        “”Progressive” would be legalizing prostitution and marijuana ”

        I fail to see how legalizing prostitution is progressive. It used to be legal. But then, slavery used to be legal.

      34. Andy Ypsilanti
        Posted July 22, 2009 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        Dan,
        Thank you for the correction. I had Bodery and Nickles reversed on the original vote. Still, Mr. Nickles’ constituants were against this bill, and he made a reasoned decision to support it. That was a bold step, in my opinion. It’s good to see some one in our city stepping up and saying “let’s give them the chance to prove themselves” instead of “some of us don’t like this, so none of you can do it”. (not to belittle what Robb/Murdock did here, but they tend to be more willing to take a chance to begin with)

        A chance to test the waters. That’s what happened here, and I’d like to think that it’s step in the right direction for Ypsi. If we can encourage more of this thinking, we can start to make some changes for a brighter future. Some of things will fail, to be sure. But if we can get the chance to try some new ideas, we may just discover a brave new, and tax dollar rich, direction for our great city.

      35. Andy Ypsilanti
        Posted May 17, 2010 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        From Pete Murdock:

        Hi All -

        City council will be having first reading of an amendment to remove the sunset provision from the ordinance allowing the keeping of Chickens in the City this Tuesday, May 18. If this doesn’t pass, no more permits for chickens will be issued after June 1, 2010. There have be no reported problems with chickens in the first year, so I am hopeful this will pass with little resistance.

        Pete Murdock

        485-7799

      One Trackback

      1. By Local man tires of early morning cock on June 1, 2011 at 8:26 pm

        [...] the following note from an angry reader in Ypsi, and, as we haven’t discussed the subject of city chickens in a while, I thought that I’d repost here… His note, as you will soon see, is [...]

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