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Chickens now allowed on Huntington Woods properties

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published May 14, 2019

HUNTINGTON WOODS — The city of Huntington Woods officially passed its ordinance allowing backyard chickens, as well as the costs for a permit inspection.

Approved at the City Commission’s May 7 meeting, both the new ordinance allowing the backyard chickens and a resolution stating the cost of the permit and two annual inspections passed by a 4-0 vote.

The permit and inspection fee costs $180, with the permit costing $80 and the two inspections by a third-party pest control expert costing $100.

“These are an attempt by the city just to pass on our costs as they relate to this process and something that, personally, I feel (is) very important to make sure that this is safe for all residents of Huntington Woods,” Mayor Bob Paul said.

Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Jenks wasn’t happy with the pricing of the fees and felt that it treats kids who want to have chickens differently than those who want dogs and cats.

“I believe parts of this are pushing further than needed,” he said.

Commissioner Jules Olsman said that, as somebody who was skeptical and concerned when the topic of backyard chickens first came about, particularly about any potential disease issues, that he thinks the ordinance addresses a number of those concerns.

“There are clearly differences between chickens and other family pets,” he said. “They’re fed outside. There’s big issues with regard to the chicken feed and rat prevention, so the construction of this device is pretty elaborate, and it seems to me that if somebody wants to go to that expense, they really must love their chickens.”

Olsman did feel that it’s not fair to compare chickens to dogs and cats.

“It requires a high degree of knowledge and effort to get involved in this activity, but I’m convinced that the ordinance that has been drafted addresses those concerns,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’re going to see how many residents of Huntington Woods want them. ... I think the best part of the ordinance, if you will, is the neighbors sign off. It’s very important. That way, neighbors are involved in the decision.”

Commissioner Michelle Elder said that having the third-party professionals come out makes her feel a lot better about the ordinance.

“Unfortunately, it is a little costly, but we are not making money off of this at all,” she said. “That’s not the point, obviously. So I think the city has done a good job in researching and learning about what it takes to be able to support the youth that want to learn about keeping chickens in their backyards and where their local food source comes from.”

It was noted by City Attorney Carol Rosati that, since the fees were set in a resolution, it gives the commission the ability to change the price easily in the future if it wants to do so. The pilot program will be reviewed by the City Commission after one year.

“We’re going with this pilot program, and we’ll see how it goes, and if the commission believes the fee should be adjusted up or down … we’ll just do a new resolution,” Rosati said.