Small Ohio Town Embroiled in Intense Debate over Zoning Law’s Ruling on Owning Chickens

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 source-COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – Columbiana City Council debated a long-standing rule Tuesday night that’s been the topic of a lot of controversy.

Columbiana law set in the 1970s addresses what residents can and cannot keep on their own property. The law has largely been ignored until now, creating months and months of back and forth between council and residents.

But Mayor Bryan Blakeman said the law is very straightforward and that residents are not understanding it.

The dispute started when a Columbiana man said he wanted to raise white tailed deer on his property. Under Columbiana city law, that is illegal.

The problem was, once council said “no” to the white tailed deer, they also had to say “no” to other animals on that prohibited list — including chickens.

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This one is for the few, those happy few, that have been with me from the start. I’m not sure if there’s actually anyone out there who read my Mission Statement, but in it I promised to cover small town zoning politics, a promise that had, to date, gone unfulfilled. Well, the proverbial chickens have finally come home to roost (get it?). I’ve finally found a zoning board story worthy of coverage. A heated debate that threatens to fracture a small Ohio town: are you allowed to have chickens and gardens on your property?

Now, the easy answer seems to be yes. The actual mayor of the town says that things like pets and gardens are allowed under deeper, more arcane pieces of this law. No offense to the surely nice people of Columbiana, Ohio, but I doubt any of them are really all that well versed in the intricacies of their town’s zoning laws. I can totally see where some of them are coming from. If my neighbor randomly started raising chickens, I’d be upset, too. Chickens are loud. They stink. They’re stupid and are liable to wander into my yard and start causing trouble. Now I’ve got to build a fence and re-sod my grass. Thanks, Gary! It’d be a real shame if something untoward happened to your new farm! I’d probably go to my local government, too. I don’t care if this law is real or not, you better start enforcing it. It goes without saying that if you have a problem with your neighbor’s garden you have a gigantic dump in your pants, but the point remains. You shouldn’t be able to just buy a bunch of chickens. I don’t want any new chicken coops anywhere near where I live. Chicken coops just exist in perpetuity, they don’t pop up out of nowhere. Especially not in a residential area. You keep that stuff in the middle of nowhere, where only the poor souls cursed to be farmers have to deal with them. So, yeah, assuming this was the townsfolk’s main complaint, I’m totally with them here. No new chicken coops in my town, and no altering any small town law made before 1980. We have to protect the things that make America America, and absurdly outdated small town politics is the number one thing we have going.

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