Orfordville residents soon might be allowed to raise feathered friends in their backyards if the village board passes a proposed ordinance.
Residents Danielle and Jadalyn Clark approached the board in September, asking members to reconsider an ordinance that prohibits homeowners from raising chickens and ducks on their property, according to meeting minutes.
Board President David Olsen said the board considered changing its ordinance a few years ago, but it chose to allow chickens only in agricultural-zoned areas. The board then decided to open up the topic for discussion again, according to minutes.
Since then, a slew of other residents have approached the board and police committee to voice support.
Police Chief Brian Raupp said he has researched chicken ordinances in other area communities to determine which parameters Orfordville should have.
The Janesville City Council passed a backyard chickens ordinance in 2015 after months of contention between pro- and anti-backyard chicken residents.
Janesville’s ordinance, approved on a 4-3 vote, allows up to four chickens within city limits and up to 25 chickens in “outlying” areas of the city.
Many Orfordville residents have expressed support for an ordinance, and nobody has contacted Raupp opposing one, he said.
Resident Terry Bennett spoke at an October police committee meeting, saying he had neighbors in Janesville who raised chickens and the chickens never caused problems. Residents Josh Clark and Jeb McMahon also spoke in support, according to minutes.
Neighboring Brodhead allows two chickens per home. Raupp, who formerly worked for the Brodhead Police Department, said he noticed no issues after the chicken ordinance was approved.
The city of Evansville requires that chicken owners get permits, which Raupp thinks would be a good condition to add to an Orfordville ordinance.
At the Dec. 13 police committee meeting, Raupp said he is working with the village attorney to draft an ordinance and will bring it to the committee for review before forwarding it to the village board.
Other village ordinances should be reviewed before the chicken ordinance goes to the board, Raupp said.
An ordinance allowing residents only one accessory building on their property might need to be amended because a chicken coop would be considered an accessory building. That means people with existing sheds or storage structures would not be allowed a coop, he said.
Residents who want a chicken ordinance say they want their families to produce their own eggs and meat and be more self-sustaining, Raupp said.