An upcoming vote on a proposed urban chicken ordinance has many residents buzzing on Facebook, as more than 100 have offered comments the past couple weeks, as well as sharing The Shawnee News-Star's recent article on the proposal. Though comments were mixed, most appeared to lean toward support of such an ordinance.

Shawnee City Code may be amended to make allowances for chickens to live in town — under the right conditions.

An upcoming vote on a proposed urban chicken ordinance has many residents buzzing on Facebook, as more than 100 have offered comments the past couple weeks, as well as sharing The Shawnee News-Star's recent article on the proposal. Though comments were mixed, most appeared to lean toward support of such an ordinance.

Recently Shawnee Planning Director Rebecca Blaine said as the topic has increasingly come up, some residents in the community generally thought having back yard chickens already was allowed.

“That is not so,” she explained.

Blaine said city residents owning urban chickens have been a hot topic in recent years in the state, citing Norman, Stillwater and most recently Edmond have adopted similar ordinances.

She said in Shawnee, if the ordinance is approved, a one-time $15 permit would be required — though if the resident moves to another location with an intent to keep chickens, a permit would then need to be obtained at the new site.

Holly Gordon, local resident and Blue Zones Food Policy advocate, spent some time this week sharing information about the upcoming proposal with Shawnee City Commissioners.

Addressing noise, she said chicken chatter is about 60-70 decibels, roughly equivalent to a normal human conversation, whereas barking dogs are about 90 decibels.

No more than six hens would be allowed, Gordon explained.

“But, no roosters,” she added.

Lease/rental agreements can override the ordinance, she said, meaning landlords have the final say on whether they want to allow chickens on their property.

“So that is something a tenant or homeowners association would have to discuss,” she said.

The popular topic also has many residents buzzing on Facebook, as more than 100 have offered comments the past couple weeks, as well as sharing The Shawnee News-Star's recent article on the proposal.

Though comments were mixed, most appeared to lean toward support of such an ordinance.

In favor of

• Colleen Brooke said, “I had chickens when I lived in town. My neighbors didn't mind.”

• Chris Calise said it should be approved.

“It's a way of providing food for your family and community,” Calise said.

• Phyl Forney said, “I would love to have some chickens.”

• Bradley Don Presley said, “Please pass this! I live 1/3 of a mile from the edge of town my neighbors have horses and chickens but live on 5 acres or more. We live on 2 and cant have chickens … if we lived 1/3 of a mile further out nothing would be said and plus I think it would be good for our kiddos to learn!”

• Chuck Larson said, “In the 40s and 50s there were still lots of 'urban chickens' in Shawnee. What's the harm in it? Geez.”

• Anastasia Nicole Wright said, “It's about time! Ready for fresh eggs!”

• Genna Grace added, “and saving money!”

“About friggen time!!!” Grace posted.

• Phyllis Rigney said chickens are good.

“They eat bugs,” Rigney said.

• Trish Taylor, replying to Grace's post, said, “Yes! Especially ticks and mosquitoes!”

• Elizabeth Jones said, “Best news ever.”

• Sharon Baxter said, “They have this in Key West Florida. There are a lot of termites in Key West and the chickens feed on the termites.”

Against the proposal

• Elsie Little said, “Meth heads and chickens? You won't have any chickens due to the meth heads eating or stealing them. … How is a chicken going to provide a safe community?”

• Shannon Sedlacek said, “The problem with the chickens is when people don't take care to keep it all nice looking. When the chickens take over due to neglect then there's a problem. It is possible to have a chicken coop and keep it nice and contained but there's also those people in town that don't care how trashy their places look.”

• William Austin Weaver said, “This is a terribly horrible idea.”

• Terra Le Morton Woodrd said, “Big mistake, Shawnee. Better limit the number of chickens to 3 hens and NO roosters, and make the coop at least 50 feet from the neighbors house. The smell of too many chickens in a coop is unbearable in town. I know this first hand.”

Vote coming

Gordon said Shawnee City Commissioners are set to vote on whether to approve the proposed ordinance at its next meeting. Because City Hall will be closed for Labor Day Sept. 2, the 6 p.m. meeting will instead take place Tuesday, Sept. 3, in the Bertha Ann Young City Commission Chambers at City Hall, at 16 W. 9th St.

Watch for updates.