Monday, February 23, 2009

Chicken in the Yard (C.I.T.Y.) City Council Meeting Tonight in Salem

The group C.I.T.Y. (Chickens In The Yard) is rallying to amend code, with a formal presentation to City Council tonight February 23rd. We should all be there! The amendment has received letters of support from Marion-Polk Foodshare, Oregon Tilth, Willamette University Center for Sustainable Communities, and so on.

SEE YOU ALL TONIGHT- City Hall, 555 Liberty, Room 240!


Nidaba said...

What was the outcome of the meeting?
I would have loved to go and support C.I.T.Y.

Does C.I.T.Y. have a website?

Evann said...

Hi Everyone,

I have big news. I spoke with Councilor Nanke today and have summarized our conversation below:

* Based on conversations he and I have had with the other councilors and the Mayor, we think we have the majority (five) votes needed to pass our chicken ordinance! We feel pretty certain that the Mayor and councilors Nanke, Tesler, Dickey, and Cannon are prepared to vote yes. At this point, councilors Clem and Bennett are "maybe" votes, and councilors Sullivan and Rogers are probable "no" votes. Of course, we will work hard to win them over in the coming weeks. But I think we are in good shape.

* Unfortunately, the city has indicated it could take 4 to 6 months to change the ordinance if it passes. I emphasized to Councilor Nanke how important it is for us to accomplish this by spring so that we can buy our chicks and have eggs by mid-summer. He agrees! He wants chickens too (as does Councilor Tesler) and has already picked out the spot for his coop. He will try to find out why the city thinks it would take so long and point out that after reading our packet, the City of Keizer is ready to adopt the change almost immediately.

* At the city council meeting scheduled for March 9th, the subject of chickens will be on the agenda --- But only to vote to see if it warrants a public hearing later on. He said a few of us should show up to support the motion that it be scheduled as a public hearing sometime in April (we have to wait until Councilor Tesler returns from vacation because we need her vote) I will be there and so will Dana.
You are encouraged to come too, if you can.

* Prior to the public hearing (date unknown), we will meet with Tesler and Nanke and negotiate changes to our proposed ordinance that will make it most likely to pass. Mr. Nanke indicated to me that the city is NOT interested in a permitting process - which is really good news! I told him we are also against neighbor notification, and he agreed. But he did say the Mayor is leaning toward allowing only 3 hens. We might have to give in to this, but we'll see. There is much to be worked out and everyone's concerns will be addressed. You'll have to trust me on this.

* As most of you know, we made the front page of the Statesman Journal this morning and also were featured on Channel 2 (KATU) news tonight at 5:00 and again at 6:00. Mr. Nanke told me to expect a call from national news - ABC - by the end of the week, as they may also want to do a story, as well! I'll let you know if I hear from them.

* We will NOT be on the agenda March 23rd (because Tesler will be still be out of town), which is probably okay, since it is spring break and many of us will also be gone. Our next important meeting (the public hearing) will most likely be in mid or late April. Be prepared to show up . . . we absolutely must pack the room that night.
And there will be opposition! In fact, many people will probably speak against us, so we must out-number and out-smart them.

* Councilor Nanke also said his sister-in-law happens to work for the zoning department in another capital city, Olympia, and said they have had only one chicken complaint in four years and he plans to bring that up at the next council meeting!

* Please continue to recruit new members and have them contact me through a new email address I set up, so I can stop using my personal one. Please direct folks to They can also join our Yahoo Groups page "Salem Chickens."

* One of our members has generously offered to pay for the printing of postcards with our C.I.T.Y. logo on one side and a statement on the other side urging council members to vote yes on the proposed chicken ordinance. When these are available, I will let you know. He is printing 1,000 of them for us! Thanks John!

By the way - excellent job with the comments to the Statesman Journal article today. Thank you so much!


Evann said...

Latest UPDATE from Barbara C.I.T.Y

Hi Everyone,

I spoke with Councilor Nanke last night (and a reporter from the Statesman Journal seeking a comment) about a motion made yesterday directing city staff to do a resolution to initiate a code change involving chickens!

There has been a change in plans and we are now on the fast-track for getting our proposed ordinance changed. If I understood Mr. Nanke correctly, the timeline listed below is what we might anticipate happening. We did not get much notice, so please spread the word quickly because we need a big show of support at the City Council meeting this Monday, March 9th. I only need a few of the speakers this time (I’ll contact you in a separate email), but I need everyone else to fill council chambers showing their support. We will be on the agenda this time and it will be for the purpose of negotiating the terms of the ordinance

On March 9th - Councilors Nanke & Tesler will put forth a “front end baseline direction” to staff asking that they bring back a resolution. This baseline proposal will start off very simple, allowing six hens in the rear yards of RS and RA zones and will include a “sunset clause” to expire in one year if not extended. From there, we negotiate possible amendments. Here’s the tricky part . . .
since we speak first, we must anticipate what types of amendments to the baseline proposal city councilors are going to suggest. I have a good idea of what these will be, but I will know more after I speak with Brad again on Saturday, as he will be seeking input from the other councilors about this. So, each of our speakers will have three minutes to discuss things like why we don’t want to have a permit process added to the proposal, or why we don’t want the number of hens reduced, what we think about a neighbor-distance requirement, etc.
After this, council will vote on what the ordinance should say (we can listen to them deliberate, but we can not speak any more at this point).

On March 16th – This is not a normal city council meeting, but they can bring back a resolution at these special meetings. Chickens will be on the consent calendar as an action item this time. This is basically just to formalize the decision they made the previous week.
City staff will come back with an official document and councilors will vote on it (not to make chickens legal, but to decide if the resolution should be supported). If pulled, there may be questions so some of our core members should be there just to answer questions and to say we support the resolution. There is no need for a large crowd at this meeting, just a few of us is sufficient. They will basically vote on what was already decided the previous week.

On March 17th - City staff notifies the State Land Conservation and Development Dept. and the City Planning Commission that they are planning to make a land use change. The law requires that they get 45 days notice. Nothing happens during this 45-day period.

45 Days Later (approximately May 1st) - A public hearing is held as part of a city council meeting in front of the Planning Commission (seven people). We must pack the room with supporters and give our entire presentation (like we did on Feb 23rd) because the planning commission hasn’t heard it yet. Then the planning commission deliberates and makes a recommendation to city councilors either that night or within a week.

Then it goes onto the consent calendar and can be voted on. The staff can recommend that city council vote yes on it the way it’s written, or they can recommend further changes, or they can recommend it not be passed (in which case there will have to be another public hearing, but this is not likely to happen).

By June 1st – We can all have our chickens in the yard!!!

Councilor Nanke said he’s not aware of any real opposition and he thinks we have 7 out of 9 “yes” votes at this point, so we’re in good shape. In fact, he’s thinking of getting his chickens now and keeping them at his friend’s house in the country until this thing passes.

Please send an RSVP to letting me know if you can be there on March 9th and how many bodies you think you can bring along.

Also, two very generous members of our group have created a website
called Thank you Keith & Amy!