Ruffled feathers in Kansas

Citizens flock to Village Board meeting to express displeasure with chicken ban

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KANSAS – The amended hen ordinance in Kansas drew a large crowd to the village board’s monthly meeting Wednesday, Oct. 4.

The usually empty seats in the village hall were filled as concerned citizens attended the meeting to voice displeasure about the amended ordinance prohibiting chickens inside the village limits.

The board voted three to four to amend the hen ordinance at the September meeting. The new ordinance states it is unlawful to keep hens within the village limits and any person having hens has six months to comply with the newly adopted ordinance.

Amber Slaymaker, who with her son raise and care for hens at their residence in Kansas, addressed the board during the public comment portion of the meeting. She explained her dissatisfaction in not being made aware of the changed ordinance and noted she was in full compliance with the original 2014 ordinance except for the annual $25 fee. Slaymaker delayed paying the fee for an explanation of how the village uses the fee.

Slaymaker also made the board aware her five-year-old son, who is on the autism spectrum, is involved in every aspect of raising the chickens as part of his therapy. She asked the board to put the chicken ordinance on the November meeting agenda. She noted she is currently in full compliance with the original ordinance having paid the $25 fee. Board members empathized with her.

Evan Kubicek addressed the board and explained he was airing the meeting on Facebook Live in an effort to make the monthly meeting more accessible and more transparent since some residents were unaware the hen ordinance was up for review in September.

“It’s on Facebook Live right now so that people can see what we are talking about and be a part of meeting,” Kubicek said, claiming many residents are unable to physically attend the meetings.

Slaymaker asked why chicken owners weren’t notified of the hen ordinance discussions and added she would have attended the previous meeting but she was not aware of the meeting’s’ agenda. Currently the village posts the monthly board meeting agenda in the window of village hall.

Kubicek requested making meeting agendas and minutes along with village ordinances more accessible by putting them online. “Make some little steps so that people can interact with you,” he said. The board thanked him for his suggestions.

A representative from Community Energy Solar, a company that focuses on renewable energy developments along with the construction of wind and solar generating facilities, presented the plans to build solar farm on the west side of Kansas on the Bob and Suzanne Tomshack’s rural property. The board agreed to write a letter acknowledging their support of the project.