Jackson County Commissioners will hold a public hearing on Nov. 30 to read proposed changes to ordinances within the boundaries of White City concerning livestock. Residents have kept chickens there continuously though the practice was outlawed in 2004 during the urban renewal process.
At that time, language preventing residents from keeping livestock was approved. While the language was there, no one in particular paid any attention it, including law enforcement. As is frequently the case, no issues arose from that practice until someone made a complaint. Then, residents were told that they would have to remove the fowl and were given a date for compliance.
County offices received complaints about the restriction being enforced and the matter came to the commissioners. Kelly Madding of the planning department told commissioners Skundrick and Rachor during a work session on Nov. 10, that restrictions within White City were more stringent that in other municipalities within Jackson County. Madding had already begun working on crafting language to allow for small animals within the area in question.
The Nov. 30 hearing (1:30 p. m.) will introduce language to bring the White City area into line with other cities within Jackson County. While it will be designed to allow for non-intensive agriculture, there will be limits. Large animals will be excluded—again with certain limits. Other small animals, such as rabbits will be allowed, though roosters are to be excluded because of the possible nuisance noise they produce.
According to the commissioners, residents who want to keep chickens have valid reasons. During these tough economic times, having a fresh source of protein is a prudent decision.
The language proposed will be available for public inspection one week before the Nov. 30 hearing on the County Website. During the public hearing, residents both in favor and opposed will have a chance to express their concerns about the change. Madding said that following the public meeting, the first reading of the ordinance will be read on December 14, and the second reading on Dec. 28. These timelines could be changed, depending on the amount of public testimony on Nov. 30, though these dates are the earliest for each step of the process.
In the meantime, residents are happy that the county is moving to rectify the problem, and that the sheriff’s department has been instructed to ignore the situation until after the hearings.
By Ralph McKechnie
For the Independent