Terre Haute City Council on Thursday approved an ordinance allowing city residents to keep chickens.

In the works for months, the council passed the ordinance with minor changes, 6 to 2. Council members Curtis DeBaun IV, Amy Auler, Earl Elliott, Karrum Nasser, Todd Nation and Martha Crossen voted in favor of the ordinance.

Council members Don Morris and Neil Garrison voted against. Councilman George Azar did not attend Thursday’s meeting.

The ordinance allows city residents to keep chickens, but not other fowl such as peacocks, turkeys or waterfowl, in a coop/run enclosure that offers a minimum six square feet per bird.

The coop/run must also provide adequate sun and shade and a deterrent boarder to protect against rodents, wild birds, dogs, and other predators or vermin.

The coop/run must also be at least 20 feet from another dwelling and at least five feet from the property line of any adjoining lots.

A licensed flock may not have more than eight hens and no roosters and the flock owner must live in a residential, or R1 or R2 zoned, area.

Anyone wanting to keep a flock will have to apply for a license through the Terre Haute Board of Public Works and Safety, or its designated facility. A license would cost $25.

No applicant will be allowed to harbor more than one flock within the city and no more than one flock can be harbored at one location, so as to not create a public nuisance.

Anyone granted a license inherently agrees to chicken coop and run inspections, at reasonable times, to any animal control officer of the city and/or their designees.

Any violation of the ordinance may result in a fine of up to $250 per day for a first offense, and may result in the revocation of any license to harbor a chicken flock within the city. Any subsequent violation may result in a fine of up to $2,500 per day, and would require the revocation of a license to harbor a chicken flock within the city indefinitely.

Auler, D-1, offered an amendment to the ordinance that requires a minimum lot size of 4,800 square feet and requires the coop/run fence to stand at least six feet high.

“That basically goes off the [standard] lot size in the city,” Auler said. “… These are just two things that people have brought to me to address their concerns.”

The amendment passed.

Garrison, D-5, said constituents in his district expressed concerns about harboring chickens that weren’t addressed in the ordinance.

He said some folks were worried about a possible smell, compliance and inspection protocols, roosters unwittingly making their way into flocks and the worry that some aren’t fit to keep chickens.

Garrison said the overall sentiment of those he talked to weren’t in favor of allowing chickens in the city.

In other business:

• The council approved rezoning of property at 2400 and 2401 Third Avenue for a proposed plumbing business.

• The council approved a $12,000 appropriation from EMS laundry and uniform to EMS medical supplies for the purchase of medical supplies.

• The council approved a $90,000 appropriation from EMS to EMS services contractual for contract agreement with Styker Sales.

• The council approved a $57,000 appropriation from the Motor Vehicle Highway fund to Regular Hourly Employees fund to cover the cost of rising hourly wages in the city’s Street Department.

• The council approved a $615,000 appropriation from Waste and Refuse fund to Services Contractual to cover the shortfall in trash fees for the city’s contract with Republic Services.

• The council approved a $86,000 appropriation from Transit to Purchase of Vehicles to cover the purchase of three city buses.

• The council approved a special ordinance allowing the city to take out a $3 million tax anticipation warrant loan to guarantee cash flow between property tax disbursements in 2020.

• The council adopted a resolution allowing the Terre Haute Legal Department to transfer $21,330.33 to cover a shortfall in the department’s legal settlement funds.

• The council adopted a resolution authorizing a temporary loan from the Terre Haute Sanitary District Operating Fund to ensure the city get’s the maximum property tax levy in 2021.

• The council adopted a resolution allowing the Terre Haute Clerk’s office to transfer $4,300 to cover the cost of tinting various windows in city hall.

• The council adopted a resolution allowing the Environmental Protection Division to transfer $17,500 to cover the cost of city grass cutting services.

• The council adopted a resolution allowing the City Court to transfer $750 to cover the cost of translators used in the past year.

• The council adopted a resolution supporting the filing of an application by Spectacle jack LLC to the Indiana Gaming Commission to receive a license to operate an inland casino in Terre Haute.

Reporter Alex Modesitt can be reached at 812-231-4232 or at alex.modesitt@tribstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @TribStarAlex. 

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