Ann Arbor, MI finally can join Madison, WI and many other forward-looking cities that will now permit their citizens to keep back-yard chickens. Of course, there are restrictions (how many one home may have, no roosters permitted, set-backs from residences and property lines, proof of approval from neighbors), and the new ordinance is for a one-year pilot project with review and tweaking if necessary a year from now.
Here is a copy of the message I sent two days ago to my two council reps, the neighbor I met on Sunday who is running for City Council, and our mayor.
I have written previously to voice my support for permitting "city chickens" in Ann Arbor. I would like to reiterate that support and urge you to vote in favor of this ordinance. There are many reasons people wish to have their own backyard chickens. I am a strong proponent of increasing opportunities for people to be involved in their own food growing and production for the myriad of reasons that promote both a healthy body and healthy spirit. Backyard chickens provide an opportunity for people to be making the direct connection between what they eat, how it's raised, and their overall health.
I have also heard all the "obstacles" raised leading to the "no" votes by several Ann Arbor City Council members, including the two of you. I admit to being a bit perplexed and wonder why other cities have resolved these concerns and Ann Arbor has had difficulty. Madison, WI, a city that many compare to Ann Arbor, has approved an ordinance that permits backyard chickens with the support of the UW-Extension Poultry specialists. I invite you to view their web site at http://www.madcitychickens.com/index.html.
As my representatives on City Council, I again urge you to re-examine this issue, your concerns, and the desires of many of your constituents to have their own city chickens. Having lived in both Madison and Ann Arbor, I would like to be able to agree and say "Yes" to people who like to say that Ann Arbor is just like Madison.
Thank you for your reconsideration on this issue. Please vote Yes and then get on with the many other issues of concern to Ann Arbor voters. By comparison, the city chicken issue has no controversial aspects that have not already been satisfactorily resolved by many other cities, and this ordinance should be a slam-dunk approval for Ann Arbor.
My two reps voted no again on this ordinance, and one has told me that my neighborhood has deed restrictions forbidding chickens in spite of the new ordinance. I don't know the answer to that claim, but even if true, I am very happy for all of those who can now enjoy raising their own chickens and enjoy the incredible taste of truly fresh eggs. I'm also pleased to have had the opportunity to participate in my city government.
Hopefully, Ann Arbor chicken supporters will soon have a cool logo like the one Madison has created.
Diana Dyer, MS, RD