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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.