One of the items addressed at the Shawnee City Commission meeting Tuesday was an amendment to City Code that adds regulations regrading the keeping of urban chickens within city limits.

One of the items addressed at the Shawnee City Commission meeting Tuesday was an amendment to City Code that adds regulations regrading the keeping of urban chickens within city limits.

City planner Rebecca Blaine said the trending topic has been picking up steam over the past decade across the country.

“With interest in food security and local food systems on the rise, more and more communities are amending their animal control and zoning codes to allow the keeping of chickens in residential districts,” she said. “The benefits of urban chickens include the production of fresh, local eggs, the companionship and educational aspects of keeping such animals as pets.”

The potential downsides, she said — which include noise, odor, and disease concerns — make appropriate regulations important to protect communities from nuisance or public health complaints.

“Several communities in the state have adopted ordinances for the keeping of chickens on residential property including Norman (2012), Stillwater (2018), and Edmond (2019),” Blaine said. “The Food Policy Council of Pottawatomie County and Blue Zones Project have assisted in the research, best practices from other Oklahoma communities, and education resources that can assist those wanting to keep chickens on their residential property.”

Blaine said up to now chickens were only allowed in agriculturally zoned areas within the city limits of Shawnee.

Representatives of the Pottawatomie County Food Policy Council, a group who researches food systems gaps in the county and offers recommendations to city councils, were at the meeting to answer questions or concerns from the board. There were none aired.

Commissioners unanimously voted in favor of the ordinance. Ward 3 City Commissioner James Harrod and Ward 5 City Commissioner Mark Sehorn were not in attendance.