June 30, 2009
By Gregg Hennigan
IOWA CITY – If the word “chicken” is directed at the City Council at tonight’s meeting, it probably won’t be an insult.
After three months of collecting signatures, organizers plan to submit a petition asking that people be allowed to keep chickens in residential areas. As of a couple of weeks ago, several hundred people had signed the petition.
Supporters of backyard chickens – which, along with urban chickens, is what the movement often is called – want city law to be changed to allow people to keep up to five hens, but no roosters, at their homes.
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I’ll be covering the school board meeting tonight, but we’ll have a reporter check in on whether the petition is turned in.
The issue should not be discussed in any detail because it is not on the council’s agenda. Organizers plan to submit the petition during the public comment portion of the meeting.
City staff is collecting information on the matter for the council’s consideration, possibly later this month.
May 19, 2009
By Gregg Hennigan
IOWA CITY — Backyard chicken advocates in Iowa City are still trying to generate support for their cause.
A petition drive was started in early April calling for a change in city law to allow residents to keep up to five hens, no roosters, in residential areas. City code currently classifies the raising of livestock as an agricultural use, which is not allowed in residential zones.
At the time the petition started, organizer Stacey Driscoll of Iowa City said she hoped to turn it in to the City Council in the coming weeks.
On Monday, Driscoll said the plan is to submit it in late June or early July. About 700 people have signed the online and paper forms of the petition, she said.
Driscoll has created a Web site on the issue. She’s also helped organize a screening of the documentary “Mad City Chickens” at 2 p.m. June 27 at the Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center in Iowa City. She said the filmmakers are going to be there and hold a Q&A afterward.
Supporters say there is a growing national movement among people living in urban areas wanting to raise chickens. Press critic Jack Shafer of Slate.com disputes that in a recent column.