Chickens don’t belong in the suburbs, the Overland Park City Council says.
On Monday evening, the council denied a resident’s request to keep hens in her backyard, with most of the council members stating it simply wasn’t appropriate.
Lisa Provence, who lives near 77th Street and Lowell Avenue, had requested the special use permit to keep four hens on her lot, which is nearly a quarter of an acre.
The application came as the result of a complaint from a passerby. Provence acknowledged to the council she had been keeping the chickens on her property since March, but said she didn’t realize she needed a permit. She said the hens, which she has been raising since they were chicks, were being used as pets and for eggs.
Overland Park’s ordinance requires a special use permit for farm animals on tracts of less than three acres.
Besides the initial complaint, the city has received two phone inquiries about the chickens on Provence’s property.
Despite the slight opposition, however, no other neighbors have complained, nor did any show up to the council meeting to protest the special use permit.`
In fact, Provence presented a petition to the council, signed by 30 of her neighbors, which stated their approval for the permit.
Many of the council members, however, were not impressed.
“Raising farm animals in a residential neighborhood doesn’t make sense,” said Councilman Paul Lyons. “I understand immediate neighbors don’t want to publicly object and cause a rift. And even if neighbors don’t mind, what if they move, and the new neighbors don’t want to live next to a bunch of chickens?”
His sentiments were echoed by several other council members.
Although the special use permit was denied, three council members voted in favor of it.
One of them was Dave Janson.
He said that while he was disappointed Provence had been housing the chickens since March and never told anyone about them, he didn’t see anything wrong with letting her keep them, especially since her neighbors appeared supportive.
Councilmember Terry Happer Scheier agreed. She said she’d lived next door to residents with chickens in the past and never encountered a problem.
Their opinions, however, were in the minority.
Since 2004, only one special use permit for chickens has been approved by the council; three have been denied.