New Chicken Code May Get City Clucking Again

NEBRASKA CITY – Nebraska City Commissioners are scheduled to meet Monday, Dec. 17 with an agenda that includes the  second reading of the new city code pertaining to owning backyard chickens.

This new code is spurred by the request of local 5th grader Tiger Lily Weaver.
Tiger Lily came to the board on Nov. 19 asking for changes to be made to allow for more people in Nebraska City to be able to own chickens. She presented research about other city’s codes regarding chickens and her idea on what might be good for Nebraska City codes to read.

The first reading of the new chicken code was done at the commissioners meeting on Dec. 3.

The commissioners had various concerns regarding the new ordinance. Some concerns were the requirement to get signatures of neighbors to allow for a permit to be issued and if the selling of eggs from the backyard coops would meet city code requirements pertaining to home based businesses.

There were questions over the total number of birds allowed and if the wording could be misinterpreted to allow for a greater number kept than intended.

Also, making sure that the chicken coops met city building codes, and that permit holders be made aware of the need to meet city building codes.

Commissioners Johns voiced concern for the code to list specifically that feed be stored in metal containers so as not to attract vermin.

Citizen Jackie Smith voiced her concern about inspection problems that may arise from this additional load on code enforcement officers.

City Attorney Dave Partsch said the intent of this code would be to keep the additional burden on city staff as low as possible. Inspections for compliance would mainly be complaint driven. This is to help keep the cost of permits low.

The 2nd reading of the new code will include changes made from the discussion at the first reading. The final reading on the new chicken code will take place on Jan. 7.