Egg-citing Proposal Brought To Litchfield

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The Litchfield City Council met on Tuesday, Sept. 1, in a short seven minute meeting at Corwin Hall.

Five of those seven minutes belonged to Kyle Fuhrmann, who was on hand to speak to the council about amending the city's current ordinance prohibiting the raising of poultry in city limits.

Fuhrmann said that the ordinance puts an undo hardship on those wishing to raise chickens and presented the council with a petition signed by 119 Litchfield citizens and more than 100 individuals from the surrounding area in favor of the change.

Fuhrmann proposed several restrictions to the ordinance change, which included limiting the number of chickens allowed in a backyard coop to six and restricted the type of bird to those of the egg laying and non-crowing variety, specifically disallowing roosters.

Another part of the amendment would include a secure running coop that must be kept clean and sanitary and be at least ten feet from the property line. Fuhrmann proposed a yearly license of $20 for the first year and $10 for renewal for future years.

Under Fuhrmann's plan, the amendment would be a two year trial run, allowing the council to make the amendment permanent or revert the ordinance back after that time.

He added that many other area communities, such as Hillsboro, Staunton, Belleville and St. Louis, allow backyard coops and there were a number of positive attributes to the birds. Fuhrmann said that in addition to the egg production, which could be shared with neighbors thus strengthening the community, chickens also make great pets and can teach children responsibility.

He added that Rural King in Litchfield has all of the supplies to make backyard coops and books on raising chickens, meaning that the city would benefit economically as well.

After Fuhrmann's presentation, Mayor Steve Dougherty asked if Fuhrmann had all of the information he needed to proceed forward with his proposal through the planning and zoning board. Fuhrmann said he did and would be pursuing that option.

After Fuhrmann's presentation, the council passed the consent agenda and three motions with no further discussion. The motions included an ordinance declaring a 2003 Chevrolet Impala and a 2005 Chevrolet Impala as surplus, a motion to approve a downtown facade grant application submitted by Danell Fogle of Briar Rose at 214 and 216 North State Street and a motion to authorize the city clerk to release executive session minutes from Jan. 7, 2014 (partial); Jan. 30, 2014 (partial); Feb. 27, 2014; March 4, 2014; April 1, 2014; May 1, 2014; May 6, 2014; Jan. 29, 2015; April 2, 2015; April 30 2015; May 28, 2015; and June 2, 2015 (partial).

The meeting would adjourn at 8:37 p.m. The council will meet again on Thursday, Oct. 1, for their monthly committee meeting.

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