As you can tell from the letters in today’s Forum, changing the city ordinance to allow chickens in Johnson City is an issue that sparks great passion among some. Whenever this topic comes up, we receive comments from readers who are either enthusiastically for or dead set against letting laying hens roost legally in the city.
This debate, however, is becoming a bit tiresome. Many no doubt feel the same as Mary Stauss, who wrote us to say: “Wasn’t there enough clucking over this just last year? Let’s lay it to rest.”
She is correct. City commissioners did indeed discuss the issue last year and decided to leave things as they are. That was a mistake. Commissioners may be done with the issue, but others are not. As Press staff writer Amanda Marsh reported recently, a group calling itself COOP (Chickens On Our Property) is pushing for the city to lift the prohibition on chickens inside the city.
It’s time for city leaders to give serious thought to the topic. Last year, city commissioners merely pecked around the issue. Certainly, this is not the most pressing issue facing the city. Commissioners will likely be asked to make tough budget decisions if the economy doesn’t soon turn around. Even so, being able to keep a few laying hens is of vital importance to families looking to feed their families economically and safely in these hard times.
And their voices deserve to be heard by city leaders.