The Chicken Petition

The Chicken Petition

(Crystal A. Proxmire, 5/12/2011)

Laura Mikulski’s crusade continues.  On April 19 we brought you news of a young Ferndalian hoping to raise chickens in her backyard.  http://oaklandcounty115.com/2011/04/20/chicken-coops-in-ferndale/ .  She and supporters researched how other cities handled urban chickens, and has put together a website to educate people – and City Council – about the subject.  (http://ferndalechickens.com/)  Now she is asking interested residents to sign an online petition asking for a change in the ordinance which would allow coops to be built near homes. (http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/support-backyard-chickens-in-ferndale/).

“I was incredibly surprised by how quickly the news spread and very pleased that the vast majority of people who’ve talked to me are supportive,” ” Mikulski said. “Recently WXYZ came to my street looking for me, but I was still at work- so, instead they went door to door speaking to my neighbors, and ultimately interviewed a gentleman on my block that had had issues with pests when he kept chickens before.

‘It created a great dialogue between my neighbors and myself, which allowed me to explain how to avoid pest issues, that roosters aren’t necessary for eggs, and the benefits inherent in keeping a few hens. My neighbors nearest to me were very supportive of the idea, and one neighbor even thinks he’ll likely have a few laying hens when the ordinance passes.”

Mikulski said that she started the online petition to help gauge community support, and to show city leaders that there is an interest in changing the ordinance.  The ordinance does not ban chickens – only stipulates that a chicken coop cannot be within 150 feet of a neighbor’s residence.  Ferndalechickens.com gives examples of how other cities have crafted chicken coop regulations.  For example, Ann Arbor’s ordinance allows one up to 40 feet away, and Ypsilanti’s calls for 20 feet.  The site also addresses common concerns such as smell, noise and safety.

Though she does not yet keep chickens herself, Mikulski is getting to know more families in Ferndale that do.  “I’ve connected with a handful of people keeping backyard flocks, but surprisingly have found  many more people who don’t currently have chickens who think it’s a wonderful idea. Most of them don’t even necessarily want a flock of their own- but they still see the value it would bring to others and the community as a whole,” she said.

City Council is currently considering the information provided.  Those who want to find out more about the issue or get involved can contact Mikulski at lmikulski@gmail.com.

To sign the petition, go to http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/support-backyard-chickens-in-ferndale/.

To read about a family in Ferndale and their experience keeping chickens, check out our previous story – http://oaklandcounty115.com/2011/04/20/chicken-coops-in-ferndale/.

 

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