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January 09, 2014 9:27 am

Don’t cry fowl

Written by Tom Lawrence

Joann Bentz of Powell poses with a wall hanging of roosters and chickens she quilted for her home. She told the Powell City Council she wants only hens if the council overturns a ban on the fowl. Joann Bentz of Powell poses with a wall hanging of roosters and chickens she quilted for her home. She told the Powell City Council she wants only hens if the council overturns a ban on the fowl. Tribune photo by Ilene Olson

Chickens may be allowed within city limits

They didn’t have to be egged on too much.

The Powell City Council is considering dropping a chicken ban in the city and allowing a few hens to try to scratch out a living here.

Joann Bentz brought the idea before the council Monday night. Bentz, 82, said she plans to live at least 18 more years, and having chickens at her home would help her reach the century mark.

She made her case during a lighthearted presentation to the council Monday night, and the elected officials and the small audience was soon cackling along in delight.

“I plan to live to be 100. All I want to have is a few chickens,” Bentz said. “I have a small garden in my backyard, and they make good fertilizer.”

In addition, the chickens will eliminate pests, make less noise than dogs, sleep at night, unlike dogs, and do not roam free, she said. They produce good, healthy eggs, in part by eating scraps from meals, since they are excellent scavengers.

Chickens make good pets and are popular with kids, Bentz said. She would not have roosters, since they crow, but would love to have “just laying hens,” allowed to roam in the yard during the day and kept in a portable coop during the day.

Bentz was raised on a farm, so she grew up around chickens, and she and her husband had them when they lived on the Willwood.

Even though they’re banned, chickens are spotted in Powell from time to time. The Powell Police log reports sightings of them.

Councilman John Wetzel said several local citizens have told him they would like to have chickens inside the city limits. The city already allows residents to own six adult rabbits, and if passed, this law would allow an equal number of hens.

While the council wondered if the proposal needed to go before the Planning and Zoning Commission, Deputy City Attorney Scott Kath said he didn’t think that would be required.

Wetzel said he wanted to let everyone who is interested have a say in case they think it’s a fowl idea. In addition, the council asked Bentz to be sure her neighbors won’t mind.

That will “ruffle a few less feathers,” Wetzel said.

City Attorney Sandra Kitchen will draft the chicken law. If approved three times by the council, Bentz could have her hens before “chicken season,” the councilmen said with a laugh.

“Or Easter,” she said, topping them once again. “That’s a time for chickens.”

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