By Shelby Stewart
Ortonville- The village council voted 4-3 to adopt an ordinance regarding chickens in the village.
The ordinance would allow four chickens to a residence, and a coop would have to be 100 feet from any neighboring residence, however the previously discussed rule of having to get written approval from all adjacent neighbors was removed from the ordinance.
Council members Mark Robinson, Mark Butzu, Coleen Skornika and Dan Eschmann voted in favor of adopting the ordinance while Tonja Brice, Karen Sleva and Village President Wayne Wills voted against the adoption.
The chickens have been a hot topic in the village since last summer when there was an issues with roaming chickens, and since the village has been working on an ordinance to regulate chicken ownership in the village. This ordinance has already been sent and edited for legalities by the village lawyer. Failure to comply falls under an umbrella for consequences, since the ordinance is under 90.36, and all violations of those ordinances would be a misdemeanor and would result in $100 fine or 90 days.
Brice said all of the current village chicken owners would not be able to keep their chickens under the new ordinance, and Wills offered a solution to all who have chickens.
“I do not feel comfortable with this, I will vote ‘no’ on it. The 100 foot rule is still way out of line, I do not agree with it,” said Wills. “I am looking at suggestions for ordinances allowing backyard poultry, presented and put out by Michigan State University Extension, and it has most if not all of the criteria we are looking at with this proposed ordinance. The problem is that whether or not this actually comes into play may be a moot point, because it’s been presented to me that there is a form of exemption that is available to individual residents who follow this particular ordinance through Michigan State. The resident can apply to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and have our rule thrown out.”
The appeal process would allow chicken owners to bypass the ordinance as long as they are in keeping with the rules of the exemption, and the process, said Wills, only takes about two weeks. Residents can find out more at michigan.gov/mdard or by calling 517-335-5713.
“I think the ordinance as it stands protects the non-chicken residents as well as it does the chicken residents,” said Councilman Eschmann. “I have a hard time believing that there are chicken coops out there that are not at least 100 feet from a dwelling.”
The ordinance would take effect 30 days from adoption, which would be April April 25.