Lebanon Backyard Chickens
Watchdog Indiana Home Page Watchdog Lebanon Home Page
On January 9, 2017, Lebanon City Council members Keith Campbell, John Copeland, Dan Fleming, Jeremy Lamar, and Dick Robertson all cast Taxpayer Friendly NO votes to defeat Ordinance No. 2016-13, which would have allowed backyard chickens at many residences throughout the city. Corey Kutz cast a Taxpayer UNfriendly YES vote. Mike Kincaid was absent and DID NOT VOTE.
Current City of Lebanon regulations regarding chickens and other fowl are included in Chapter 91 of Title IX in the Lebanon Code of Ordinances. Ordinance 91.03 is titled FOWL PROHIBITED AT LARGE and reads “For provisions regarding the keeping of fowl inside the city limits, please see the Unified Development Ordinance.”
Title XV in the Lebanon Code of Ordinances is the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). Animal Boarding in UDO Chapter 11 is defined as “The use of any structure and/or land for the lodging, breeding or care of dogs, cats, pets, fowl, horses or other domestic animals for profit, excluding animals used for agricultural purposes.” The Use Matrix in UDO Chapter 4 shows that “Animal boarding/stables (excluding kennels) – minimum 3-acre tract” are allowed as a conditional use in tracts zoned as Open Space (OS) and Single Family Residential (SF). Open Space tracts must be at least 10 acres. The only Lebanon tracts zoned SF are included in the I-65 South annexation area.
Therefore, current Lebanon regulations primarily allow backyard chickens only in Single Family Residential tracts that are at least three acres in size within the I-65 South annexation area.
The Lebanon City Council will consider Ordinance No. 2016-13 at its January 9, 2017, meeting that would allow backyard chickens at many residences throughout the city: see http://www.cityoflebanon.org/egov/documents/1481560028_00839.pdf.
Poor Public Policy Reasons
Changing the current Lebanon regulations to allow backyard chickens at many residences throughout the city would be poor public policy for the reasons listed next.
Reason #1: Property Values Negatively Impacted
It would be poor public policy to allow backyard chickens at many residences throughout Lebanon because property values would be negatively impacted.
There are four occupied Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) in Lebanon – Golfside at Ulen, Ulen Countryside Estates, Clear Vista, and Daniel’s/Lakeside Crossing. The covenants in these PUDs are legally the same as a Lebanon Ordinance – even if the Lebanon City Council passes Ordinance No. 2016-13 to allow backyard chickens at many city residences, backyard chickens will not be allowed within the boundaries of a PUD if restricted by a covenant.
The July 2001 “Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions” of the Golfside at Ulen Homeowners Association provides for “the preservation and enhancement of the property values” and can be found at http://www.golfsideatulen.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=PEJWcX_bwy4%3d&tabid=1817&mid=3564. Covenant 8.g states, “No one shall keep or maintain animals or poultry in this subdivision except common household pets.”
The January 1992 Protective Covenant 7 for Ulen Countryside Estates states, “No noxious or offensive activity shall be carried on upon any lot, nor shall anything be done thereon which may be or may become an annoyance or nuisance to the neighborhood, including the maintenance of chicken parks, dog kennels or the harboring of animals other than individual household pets.”
The October 18, 2002, Clear Vista covenants are established “for the purpose of enhancing and protecting the value, desirability and attractiveness of the Property as a whole and each of the lots situated therein” and can be found at http://www.firstam.com/assets/title/in/documents/c/clear-vista-boone.pdf. Section 6.4 states, “No animals shall be kept or maintained on any lot except domestic, household pets traditionally kept in individual residences throughout the state of Indiana.”
It is uncertain what covenants have been established for the Daniel’s/Lakeside Crossing PUD; however, no backyard chickens have been observed within the Daniel’s/Lakeside Crossing subdivision.
Lebanon PUD residents have prohibited backyard chickens in order to protect and enhance the value of their homes. Backyard chickens should likewise continue to be prohibited in Lebanon to protect the value of homes in all neighborhoods including Brendan Wood, Chadwick, Edgewood, Hoy, Meridian, Morningside, and Yosemite.
The Lebanon residences that have been allowed to ignore the current regulations and harbor backyard chickens are generally located in neighborhoods that are somewhat “distressed” in terms of condition and property values. Backyard chickens are not necessarily the cause of the distress, but they contribute to the depressed property values in these neighborhoods. Most home buyers believe that backyard chickens are a nuisance, and the property values of all Lebanon residents (including those in the PUDs) will be negatively impacted if Ordinance No. 2016-13 is passed to allow backyard chickens at many residences throughout the city.
Reason #2: Potential Health Risks
It would be poor public policy to allow backyard chickens at many residences throughout Lebanon because of the potential health risks.
Chickens are well known to carry salmonella bacteria and other harmful micro-organisms. Children under age 5 should handle chickens only with adult supervision, and never snuggle or kiss chicks.
Sanitation is particularly important including the need for frequent hand washing.
Chicken waste accumulating in backyards would attract insects. These insects could could transmit contamination to neighbors through such actions as landing on food being prepared on outdoor grills.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is also a concern: see https://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/downloads/animal_diseases/ai/hpai-preparedness-and-response-plan-2015.pdf. People should wear a separate set of clothes and shoes when visiting their chickens to limit the potential for transmitting the disease. The concern from a commercial standpoint is that backyard flocks with HPAI could end up introducing the disease into commercial flocks. Preemptive depopulation of chickens on an infected premises and on other nearby premises may be authorized.
The proposed Ordinance No. 2016-13 recognizes the potential for health risks by stipulating that all harborers of chicken flocks shall: “Operate in a manner so as to not pose a threat to public health. Harborers shall isolate chickens which are sick or diseased so as to not endanger the health and well-being of other animals and/or humans. When necessary for the protection of the public health and safety, the Planning and Zoning Administration and/or their designees may require the specified chicken be kept or confined in a secure enclosure. The Mayor may revoke all permits in event the public health is deemed necessary and shall be able to collect and cull all chickens if necessary. This provision is subordinate to any local, state or federal code governing the treatment of chickens in the event of a threat to human health ....”
Since the proposed Ordinance No. 2016-13 so clearly confirms by its stipulated standards that backyard chickens present potential health risks, it makes sense that this Ordinance should NOT be passed to change the current Lebanon regulations and allow more backyard chickens throughout the city.
Reason #3: Unwanted Predators and Pests
It would be poor public policy to allow backyard chickens at many residences throughout Lebanon because of unwanted predators and pests.
Backyard chickens can attract predators such as coyotes, foxes, hawks, owls, and prowling dogs. These predators are more likely to be attracted by backyard chickens in Lebanon because, unlike in localities that are more urban, there is open farm land within and adjacent to the city limits.
Backyard chickens can also attract raccoons, rodents, vermin, and flies. Rats are especially attracted to a yard in which excess chicken feed remains on the ground on a regular basis. It is likewise difficult to keep chicken coops rodent-resistant because openings must be provided for sufficient ventilation.
The proposed Ordinance No. 2016-13 recognizes the potential for unwanted predators and pests by stipulating that all harborers of chicken flocks shall keep feed and water “unavailable to rodents, vermin, wild birds and predators.”
Since the proposed Ordinance No. 2016-13 so clearly confirms by its stipulated standards that backyard chickens attract unwanted predators and pests, it makes sense that this Ordinance should NOT be passed to change the current Lebanon regulations and allow more backyard chickens throughout the city.
Reason #4: Nuisance Concerns
It would be poor public policy to allow backyard chickens at many residences throughout Lebanon because of nuisance concerns.
Chicken waste odors would be a nuisance to neighbors, particularly if there is not daily maintenance of chicken coops and accumulated droppings.
Clucking hens create a noise nuisance when stimulated by a variety of occurrences.
Neighborhood pets might interact with backyard chickens in ways that would create a noise nuisance and other disturbances.
Unwanted backyard chickens may end up running loose.
The Lebanon City Council and Lebanon Mayor should NOT pass and approve Ordinance No. 2016-13 to allow backyard chickens at many residences throughout the city.
It appears that lax regulations enforcement by Lebanon mayors have resulted in 30 to 40 residences with backyard chickens. This situation must NOT be tolerated by the passage of Ordinance No. 2016-13.
It is suggested that Lebanon Mayor Matt Gentry announce that the current City of Lebanon regulations prohibiting backyard chickens will be properly enforced starting September 1, 2017.Those Lebanon residences with backyard chickens will have sufficient time to remove their flocks without fine and legal action.
Watchdog Indiana Home Page Watchdog Lebanon Home Page
This page was last updated on 01/12/17.