KEC presents petition for keeping chickens within city limits, financial issues tabled at city council

Jessica Roblin

Keeping chickens within the city of Kent came up for discussion again at the city council meeting Wednesday.

Caroline Arnold, on behalf of Kent Environmental Council, began with a proposal about housing livestock, particularly chickens. She and six others came to oppose the ban on chickens and had 64 signatures on a petition supporting their cause.

Arnold read aloud a letter that said licenses and a fee could support the sustainability of chickens and clean operations by livestock owners. The proposal includes a maximum of six hens, which is equal to about one house cat in waste and coop size, noise and smell requirements, said Bethany Snyder, Kent resident.

“I’m a one-income family and budgets are sometimes tight for us,” said Sandy Sheller, a wife and mother of four who would like to raise chickens. “I want to be able to feed my family the best.”

She argued that hormones and antibiotics make store eggs nutritionally valueless for her family. The council later agreed to move their proposal to committee for discussion.

“I will listen, but I will tell you right now I have not changed my feelings about changing the law,” said Wayne Wilson, Ward 3 representative.

John Kuhar, Ward 4 representative, mentioned hearing about an Ohio law on how livestock must be raised, and it will be included in further discussion.

For economic development, the council suspended any talk of a written agreement among the city, Kent State and Pizutti until a later date. Pizutti is a real estate company specializing in development, construction and property management. This agreement will include tax incremental financing resulting in Kent schools receiving $215,000 and Kent receiving $419,000, with the project generating $705,000 total.

Decisions regarding an increase in Celebrate Kent! grant funds from $10,000 to $30,000 were also postponed.

“I believe it’s an investment in our downtown, in our non-profit groups, that help bolster our communities on many different levels,” said Robin Turner, councilman at-large. “It is appropriate of us even in these difficult times to make that investment.”

You can contact Jessica Roblin at [email protected].