Lauren Osborn's two chickens may have to fly the coop. City Council members at a recent committee meeting mostly spoke against allowing farm animals (including chickens) in city limits.
But the fate of the two chickens, named Penny and Nick, is still up in the air. Dan McDowell, chairman of the Planning & Zoning Committee, said after the Dec. 4 meeting that the panel will meet again to discuss the issue further. No date has been set for another meeting.
During the committee meeting, officials agreed that Lauren, a sophomore at Rivers of Life Christian School, was doing a good job taking care of her chickens. But they said that others might keep far more than two and not care for them as well as Lauren.
"The problem is not your two chickens," Mayor Ed Hagnauer said. "We're having to deal with the whole community."
Ward 3 Alderman Virgil Kambarian said opposing the request was like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas,
However, "A lot of people aren't going to be like you," Kambarian said. "We unfortunately have to think about situations that don't normally happen."
"My opinion as zoning administrator is to leave it as such and not allow it," said Zoning Administrator Steve Willaredt. He said that if the city limits the number of chickens, some people will have more.
Willaredt said that a check of area Illinois communities showed that Alton, Fairmont City, Quincy and Carbondale allow chickens with limitations. Collinsville only allows the animals on properties of five acres or more. McDowell noted that several communities including ones in Missouri allow chickens, generally with restrictions.
Lauren received the chicken as a gift this Easter. Her mother, Evvie Osborn, appealed to the city to keep them after she received a letter saying they were illegal within the city limits. Glen Hutter, a neighbor of the Osborns, spoke in favor of allowing the chickens, and also presented the aldermen with six hard-boiled eggs that the chickens had laid.
"They're well taken care of," Hutter said, adding that two nearby railroad tracks generate more noise in the northern Granite City neighborhood.
After the meeting was over, Evvie Osborn said she wasn't hopeful that her daughter would keep the chickens.