Urban farmer cries fowl over Flint city chicken ordinance

Roxanne Adair wants a variance to a city ordinance to keep her chickens.

Guinevere is one of eight hens that live in a coop on the city's east side but city officials say she's got to fly the coop citing a 1968 ordinance.

Her owner says it's outdated and now she's pushing back.

â??If I don't comply, then they will forcefully remove the chickens."

It might just come down to that because Roxanne Adair is standing by her hens.

â??Thereâ??s Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are the araucanas that are over there,â?? says Adair pointing out the chickens in her coop.

Adair has been raising the chickens for three years. The city is now telling the urban farmer, the coop's got to go.

â??Theyâ??re kind of like family now, I don't want to just take them to the processor and have them killed,â?? says Adair.

In a statement, Flint's emergency manager says, in part, harboring chickens is a quality of life issue.

But Adairâ??s neighbors beg to differ.

â??Itâ??s really changed the atmosphere around here to be able to see livestock,â?? says Emily Burns who lives behind Adairâ??s property.

Until a month ago, Adair was protected by the Michigan Right-To-Farm Act which made local ordinances like Flint's, poppy cock.

â??I would really like to see our city move forward,â?? says Adair. She has fought to get the 1968 ordinance changed but it failed back in 2010.

â??Tthis isn't just about my chickens,â?? says Adair.

Now sheâ??s hatching a new idea, hoping for a variance.

â??People in this country and especially this state are begging for a way to have their own food and have healthy food,â?? adds Adair.

Adair says sheâ??s reached out to her city councilwoman Monica Galloway to try and work out a variance. However, Galloway told NBC25 News on Monday that she couldnâ??t comment on this story because she didnâ??t have enough information.

The city's public information office issued the following statement:

Statement from the Office of the Emergency Manager Regarding Citation of Resident for Raising Chickens in a Residential Area

Flint, Michigan â?? June 16, 2014 â?? The City of Flint Blight Enforcement office was contacted two weeks ago by a resident making a complaint about a neighbor's raising of chickens in their back yard. Upon arrival, the Blight Coordinator witnessed chickens roaming freely in the back yard in what were apparently unsanitary conditions. After confirmation of the citizen complaint, a citation was issued to the offending resident; that resident now has 30 days to relocate the animals.

Along with being against city ordinance, harboring chickens in unsanitary conditions is a health issue as well as a quality of life issue. When a resident contacts the Blight Enforcement office with such issues, it is that office's duty to address and attempt to abate the issue which generated the complaint. Blight Enforcement is an important, proactive function of the City of Flint as a means to address quality of life and health issues before they become public safety issues.

As the ordinance banning the practice of raising chickens remains in effect and has not changed, it remains the legal guideline which the city will follow until it has changed. Compliance with this guideline is expected from all residents. For reference, please refer to the City of Flint Code of Ordinances (emphasis on key points in bold).

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