City Council members voiced general support Monday for revising city code to allow residents to keep chickens, following the lead of other which have taken up the issue in recent years amid a suburban trend encouraging sustainability.
City ordinances were re-written in 2009 and have prohibited the practice. Council members heard from a Creve Coeur resident, Mike Finkel, who said he's had five chickens for "a number of years". Finkel, who is also a veterinarian, wouldn't specify when he started keeping the animals, but said it was prior to the 2009 code changes.
Finkel said his experience has been positive, reporting that his neighbor sings to them while gardening, and that there have been no health issues.
Council members were less receptive to the idea of allowing pot-bellied pigs. Ward 3 Councilwoman Charlotte D'Alfonso said she watched over one for a day at her home and had issues with mud the pig created. City staff also pointed out difficulties in guaranteeing a pot-bellied pig's purebread status.
Ward 4 Councilwoman Jeanne Rhoades was among those who pointed out that an ordinance regarding chickens would have to approve hens and not roosters because of noise-related issues. Still unclear is exactly how an ordinance would handle concerns from neighbors if someone were to want to build a coup to house the animals, and the potential problems it could create in city neighborhoods where subdivision covenants already prevent them.
While the idea of chickens has gained popularity through the idea of home grown eggs, Finkel said he just enjoys having the animals around.
"The eggs are an excuse more than anything else. i mean, why do you have a dog."
In other council activity:
- Members changed the language on a proposal to allow smoking shelters. Under the amended ordinance, people would not be allowed to bring food and drinks into such a shelter. Creve Coeur has had an enhanced smoking ban in place since January and at least one business has already built a shelter for smokers who cannot legally do so in places of employment. Council members deferred further action on the bill.