With the blessing of their neighbors, a Powell man and his son approached the city council last month to ask for an exception to the city’s ban on roosters. However, the council unanimously …
With the blessing of their neighbors, a Powell man and his son approached the city council last month to ask for an exception to the city’s ban on roosters. However, the council unanimously denied the request because Powell’s Chicken Permit ordinance — which explicitly forbids keeping roosters — has no procedure to grant variances to the rules.
The city ordinance does allow residents to keep chickens under a number of limitations, including a limit of four chickens and no roosters.
Seth Carter made the request for an exception because his young son, Titus, is working on a 4-H project that required a fifth bantam chicken and a rooster. He and Titus gathered signatures from neighbors saying they were OK with the family keeping a rooster at their home on West Bald Ridge Drive, in the northern part of town; Seth Carter said they signed an agreement stating that the rooster would be removed if there were any complaints.
Councilor Scott Mangold asked if it was a loud rooster, and Titus Carter assured him it wasn’t.
However, City Attorney Sandra Kitchen said the city had no variance process; in order to permit the Carters to have a fifth chicken and a rooster, the ordinance would need to be amended. That would mean going through the process of changing an ordinance, which includes three readings.
That raised some worry that making one change could lead to more requests for changes.
Mayor John Wetzel said he recalled the issue being raised in years past, and there were residents concerned about having roosters in town.
Councilor Steve Lensegrav said he once lived next to someone who had roosters — the neighbor was right outside city limits — and it made quite a lot of noise.
“I don’t know if a lot of constituents would appreciate that,” Lensegrav said.
Carter clarified that he never wanted to change the entire ordinance. He was hoping for some kind of variance, not realizing there was no process for specific exceptions.
Mangold asked if the rooster could somehow be classified as an exotic pet, which is a class of animal that falls under different ordinances. But Kitchen said the council would need to change both the chicken and exotic pet ordinance to allow for that route.
Police Chief Roy Eckerdt raised another problem that could arise as well if the city changed the ordinance: “When a mamma chicken and a daddy chicken like each other, you have lots of chickens,” he explained, using family friendly language for the children who were present.
Carter said he wasn’t intending to start a chicken farm, but he understood that a variance wasn’t possible.
Though the city couldn’t grant the Carters’ request, Kitchen and the councilors commended Titus for coming to the council to make his case.
“I think that’s wonderful,” Kitchen said, adding, “He may be a future council member or a mayor of the City of Powell.”