Kansas City would allow more people to have backyard chickens, as long as their neighbors donâ€™t object, under a measure that gained preliminary approval Wednesday.
Currently, Kansas City residents are allowed to have up to 15 chickens, but they must be at least 100 feet away from a neighboring house or building used by people.
But the city is encountering more and more people who have chickens in violation of that distance requirement, David Park, Neighborhood and Community Services director, told the City Councilâ€™s Public Safety and Emergency Services Committee on Wednesday. Their neighbors arenâ€™t bothered, Park said, but the city code doesnâ€™t allow it.
The committee endorsed a proposal to grant people a special exception to the distance requirement, as long as all their neighbors within 100 feet approve.
The measure goes to the full council July 14 for a vote.
Beth Low, director of the Greater Kansas City Food Policy Coalition, told the committee that urban chickens are a growing local food trend, and that many other cities, including Roeland Park in Johnson County, have less-stringent distance requirements than Kansas City.
She said the cityâ€™s proposal is a good compromise to balance the rights of property owners with the rights of urban agriculture enthusiasts.
Jason Fields, vice president of the Lykins Neighborhood Association, said he raises chickens in his Northeast neighborhood, and itâ€™s a popular trend.
â€œIt has the potential to change the local economy,â€ he said.
Committee members supported the idea, although Councilman Scott Taylor said he wanted to make sure neighborhood leaders throughout the city donâ€™t have concerns. Committee Chairman John Sharp said the public has two weeks to raise any objections before the council votes.