Well, it looks like another era is passing.
One of my favorite things to brag about my fine home city of Indianapolis was that we have no restrictions placed on chickens. I have been very fond of saying things like, “Indianapolis is probably the largest city in the western world with no restrictions on chickens.”
Then I had someone send me a link to an Indianapolis Business Journal article about proposed zoning changes. (LINK) There it is in print. Limits to backyard chickens in Indianapolis.
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t the only change by a long shot…and most of the changes sound overwhelmingly positive. This one looks like a slippery slope, especially in light of the BS that MDARD (similar acronyms) is pulling with right to farm in Michigan. I don’t want to overreact though. I haven’t even seen the actual language. IBJ is a pretty credible source though.
So what is being proposed exactly?
Honestly, nothing too draconian. Essentially the zoning commission wants to limit folks to ten hens and zero roosters.
As you would expect I do have a few issues with this though.
First, why is this change here? Were their complaints? Has there been a groundswell of grass roots support for limiting egg production? When we are speaking of hens, I have a hard time believing that. Even if someone has 30 birds, they would seldom be noticed unless they were being kept in a seriously unhealthy manner. If that is the case, the city has the rule of law available to remedy the situation. I could see people complaining about roos, but most backyard chicken keepers don’t keep them…for the same reason people complain, they are annoying. No worse than a barking dog or your idiot neighbor blasting his car stereo at 3AM, but annoying. Even if the roos are that annoying though, Indy has noise ordinances to deal with that as well.
I think it is far more likely that the rise in farmers market sales of the more nutritious and tastier eggs that well cared for small flock hens provide has affected commercial grocers. When you couple that with the state recently relaxing laws concerning poultry product sales for small producers, I could see them complaining. But I could be wrong.
Either way I have seen or heard of no significant issues with birds in the city so the answer to the first issue is still a question. Why?
Then next issue I have with this proposed change is scale. What sense does it make that a 1/16th acre lot has the same limit for the number of chickens as a 2 1/2 acre lot? This also lends itself to the idea that the rule change is strictly intended to prevent or reduce production for small scale operations.
My third and final issue has to do with our city focusing on things that have more value to improving the standard of living to the residents of our fine city. I will save the reader from another of my boring lists and let you make your own list of ten or twelve things that local government could focus on that would improve your experience with residing here.
I will leave you with an answer to the title though…chickens (not even if there are 11) do not cause pot holes….and I bet fixing those is on your list.