Mission will draft ordinance to allow backyard chickens, may add beekeeping regulations

Bakyard_Chickens

By Sophie Tulp, shawneemissionpost.com intern

Mission could be the next Northeast Johnson County city to join the trend of allowing “urban farming” — backyard chicken raising and beekeeping in the community. Currently, city ordinance prohibits the keeping of chickens, but does not regulate beekeeping.

However, during a discussion at Mission’s council committee meeting Wednesday night, councilors agreed to draft an ordinance that “everyone around the table would be comfortable with” according to councilor David Shepard.

The issue has resurfaced for the first time since 2009, when the council considered an ordinance to allow urban chickens. Ultimately the proposal was tabled by a 6­-2 vote after a public hearing showed community concerns.

But a lot can change in six years, Mission resident and mother Megan Carson said to the council when she spoke at the meeting in favor of allowing chickens.

Carson and her son, 9-year-old Jack Taylor, are just one family of a few that have contacted councilors or the city with an interest in keeping bees or chickens on residential lots in Mission. Taylor emailed the council on May 17, outlining his thoughts on why urban chickens should be legal, citing fresh eggs and humane conditions for their family chickens.

Carson and Taylor agree that the sustainability and health benefits make urban chickens a smart option for their family and the community.

“We don’t see what harm it would do to anyone, so can we please have a couple chickens?,” Carson asked the council with her son by her side.

After discussing concerns such as animal attacks, potential illness and noise complaints, the council leaned towards assessing each case on an individual basis, considering factors like neighbor agreement and size of the lot for each case.

Similar to the policies of Olathe and Overland Park, which also assess conditions unique to each site, Mission councilors agreed  to draft an ordinance with specific parameters and minimum conditions for those wishing to raise chickens, with a public hearing to follow in the coming months.

As for backyard beekeeping, councilors asked staff to look into nearby cities like Prairie Village and Overland Park — which currently allow beekeeping — to see how they handle issues and complaints and go from there.

If passed in the coming months, Mission could join neighboring cities as the newest member of the “urban farming” trend.

See the chart compiled by the city of Mission below outlining other cities’ bee and chicken regulations.

Chicken_Chart