For several years, a number of county residents have been up in arms regarding Rush County’s ordinance on raising chickens and other feathered fowl.
Looking back, the issue first became public in 2011 when a family in the Carthage area were found to have eight hens on property consisting of less than 10 acres.
The family had children involved in 4-H and were involved with poultry with the Rush County Fair. The family was cited for the violation. The county’s current zoning plan that was adopted years earlier considers poultry (in this case chickens) livestock just as cattle, horses and swine.
The consensus at the time believed that poultry was not the same as other livestock and sought a change in the county’s ordinance. Supports of the change contend that in a day and age when families are seeking to merely raise their own food, poultry meets that need. They also cited that a growing number of families have children involved with FFA and 4-H projects that raise chickens and were unaware of the acreage requirement.
Moving forward, a score card system is now used as a means for qualify for special exceptions within the county on zoning issues regarding livestock.
The fowl ordinance scorecard rates on: Lot size, number of chickens, chicken/acreage ratio, coop setback (from the nearest residential structure) and type of enclosure. Also required in the rating system is agricultural vs. non-agricultural, the number of roosters included and section density.
With the exception of Carthage and the city of Rushville, if the new ordinance passes (as written), chickens will be allowed in the communities of Arlington, Falmouth, Gings, Manilla, Mays, New Salem and Sexton.
If the petitioner meets the required number of points on the scorecard, neighbors in the aforementioned community’s will not be required to be notified.
A public hearing on the matter will be held April 21 in the Assembly Room of the county courthouse during the APC meeting.
Contact: Frank Denzler @ 765.932.2222 x106.