Iowa City approves 2nd vote on backyard chickens

BY DI STAFF | NOVEMBER 28, 2012 6:30 AM

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Citizens have one last chance to persuade the Iowa City City Council to allow backyard chickens within city limits — at least for now.

City councilors voted 5-2 Tuesday night on the second consideration of an amendment legalizing backyard chickens in city limits. The same vote was cast for an ordinance that would amend the city's zoning code to establish a permit process for the chickens.

Much of the debate centered around giving neighbors the right to “veto” any neighboring chickens, which faced mixed reactions from the council and community.

“There’s all sorts of things people do inside their property line that have adverse effects on neighbors,” said Councilor Jim Throgmorton. “I oppose any veto provisions.”

However, Councilor Michelle Payne was for a veto provision.

“I don’t want to devalue my property with chickens on yours,” she said.

 Shannon Gassman a member of I-CLUCK — an Iowa City group in favor of legalizing urban chickens — said giving neighbors a veto would be unprecedented in Iowa City.

“[A veto] would be giving more rights to the neighbor, more so than the individual applicant,” she said.

Councilors Michelle Payne and Terry Dickens again had the dissenting votes for the ordinance.

An ordinance requires three readings in the council to pass. The third consideration of the ordinance will tentatively take place on Dec. 4.

— by Kristen East

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