Urban Chicken debate up for a vote

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- For close to 3 years a grassroots group called the Urban Chicken Alliance has been working with city leaders to legalize chickens within the city limits.

In less than 24 hours the South Bend Common Council is slated to vote on the matter.

ABC 57 was able to speak to 3 out of the 9 Common Council members about the proposed ordinance. It appears the urban chicken ordinance will pass unless a large group of supporters in opposition shows up Monday night and voices their concerns.

Susan Greutman said, "So many kids these days think that food comes from boxes on shelves and it doesn't- and they need to know that."

That is just one of the many reasons Susan and her husband are passionate about being able to raise chickens in their South Bend yard.

The couple has 4 children and a lot of space in their well kept fenced in yard.

"We've been working for almost 3 years now on this and it's just been a long process," said Greutman.

But come Monday night, the wait might be over.

"The bill only allows the people to use the chickens for eggs," said Henry Davis Jr., who represents the South Bend Common Council district 2 and is sponsoring the bill that would allow residents inside the city's limits to have chickens.

"We are making an amendment to a law that's here in South Bend that doesn't allow any fowl, birds, to be in the urban area, so we are trying to reverse that," said Davis Jr.

"I would say the biggest misconception is noise and smell, everybody thinks they are going to smell!" said Mitch Yacaw, a resident who lives in St. Joseph County and raised chickens.

However Yacaw says the chickens don't make much noise and they don't smell.

"I don't smell it until I actually walk into the chicken coop and I'm right there in it," he said.

Saturday Yacaw held a class that was open to the public called Urban Chicken 101 and its main purpose was to educate the public about raising chickens.

"We had about 20 people in attendance and it was a great class because it was very interactive," said Yacaw.

He brought one of his chickens into the office the class was held.

"We actually brought samples of eggs," he said.

Greutman attended the meeting and said she is hoping that South Bend will soon be one of the many cities to allow the birds.

If the proposal passes it would allow people in South Bend to raise as many as 6 chickens- hens only. Roosters would not be allowed.

Currently chickens can be raised only on properties five acres or larger.

Unity Gardens plans to offer the Urban Chicken 101 class at least 2 more times this year.

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