By Dedra Cordle
The village of Urbancrest could allow eggs and poultry to come back to the table next year.
At its meeting in December, the village council discussed the merits of revisiting legislation that prohibits the raising of farm animals and livestock on residential properties.
The call to reconsider the legislation that was passed in 2021 was introduced by councilman Lacy Wallace Jr., who also serves on the health and safety committee.
According to Wallace Jr., a number of residents have addressed the committee seeking allowance to raise chickens in their backyards. Wallace Jr. was not on the council when the legislation was passed last spring, but he said he did research after hearing from the residents and believes the topic should be revisited by the entire council.
“I think there are several benefits to having backyard chickens,” he said. “One is it helps kid get involved, socializing with others, and it gets them off the gaming (consoles).”
An additional reason the legislation should be reconsidered, he said, is the current state of the country’s economy and the soaring cost of groceries caused by inflation.
“Eggs and poultry are expensive,” he said in an interview after the meeting. “I feel a family could go broke buying poultry and eggs for their families because it is so expensive right now.
“It is an economic issue for our constituents and raising poultry and having hens that lay eggs could be beneficial to their financial situation.”
When Wallace Jr. brought up the topic to the full council, many who were active members at that time expressed concern over revising the legislation.
“It was a lot,” said councilman Steven Larkins. “A lot of time, a lot of back-and-forth, a lot of fighting over what was in the legislation.”
Councilwoman Shawn Moore said she was hesitant to express support for the idea because she has doubts that roosters would not find their way back to the village.
Wallace Jr. said the council could still prohibit roosters or any other farm animals and livestock from being raised on residential properties.
“I don’t want to see or hear any of that either,” he said.
The council did not act on the request at its regular meeting, primarily because Wallace Jr. stated the committee would ask the full legislative body to formally reconsider the farm animal and livestock prohibition legislation early next year.
Village code enforcement officer Randall Bogue said in an interview after the meeting that he did not have an issue with Wallace Jr. calling for the reconsideration of the farm animal and livestock prohibition legislation.
“He is not asking that the council allow residents to raise any and all livestock, just backyard chickens,” he said.
Bogue added that the council could include new rules should residents be allowed to raise chickens on their property, such as a maximum allowance of poultry on the lot, structural guidelines for the coop, sanitary guidelines for the health and safety of the community, and even a permit fee.
“We’ll see what the council wants to do with Mr. Wallace’s request in the coming year and then go from there,” he said.
The farm animal prohibition legislation was passed in May 2021 after months of debate.
The action came on the heels of residential complaints that roosters were “waking them up in the early morning hours” and that there were pigs walking throughout the community, leaving waste behind and posing health hazards to humans and their pets.
According to a door-to-door survey conducted by members of the health and safety committee at that time, a majority of residents approved of the move to ban farm animals and livestock within the village.
Under the ordinance, farm animals include, but are not limited to, bison, camels, chickens, donkeys, ducks, emus, fox, geese, miniature donkeys, miniature horses, mink, mules, ostrich, pheasant, pigs, and turkeys.
Under the ordinance, livestock is defined as alpacas, cattle, goats, captive white-tail deer, goats, horses, llamas, mules, poultry, and any other animal that is raised or maintained domestically for food or fiber.