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Urban Chickens Not Welcome In St. Peters

Board of Aldermen votes 7-1 to deny a city code change that would have allowed chickens to be raised within city limits.

Nick Anderson won’t be able to raise chickens in his backyard.

Anderson, a 13-year-old St. Peters resident, saw his five-month quest to change city code so he could raise chickens in his backyard end Thursday night at the St. Peters Board of Aldermen meeting. Following the advice of the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Board denied the city code change bill with a 7-1 vote. Alderman Gus Elliott, Ward 3, was the lone supporter of the urban chicken ordinance.

“I’m sad, disappointed,” Anderson said.

Supporters and opponents came out to speak at the meeting after weeks of buildup to the vote. The Board heard 11 public comments that were pretty evenly split. Those who sided with Anderson and the chickens said the city should reward a kid who has worked hard to get the project done and that chickens are no more of a harm than dogs.

The opposition basically broke into two camps. The first camp was worried about existing neighborhood covenants that prohibit poultry. With city law trumping neighborhood law, the residents were worried about potential lawsuits coming from homeowners who want chickens but aren’t allowed to by covenants.

The other camp was worried about the slippery slope of what could happen. One resident said after chickens, people would want goats, sheep or pigs.

After hearing the complaints, the Board adjusting the agenda for the night and voted on Bill No. 11-62 ahead of schedule. When the votes were cast, only Elliott supported the measure and the chickens were defeated.

Alderman Patrick Barclay, Ward 4, said he voted against the bill after hearing from residents in his ward. 

"We had a lot of e-mails and phone calls in the last week since the Bill was put on the agenda," Barclay said. "Almost all of them were against it. ... I don't think, until people came here, I don't think I heard support."

Following the vote, in the Board comment portion of the night, Ward 1 Alderman Dave Thomas said the city wasn’t quite ready for the chickens. Anderson disagreed.

“They say they’re not ready, but I think they are,” Anderson said. “There are a lot worse animals out there than a couple of chickens. I think they’re just scared. They just don’t want to try something new.”

The vote, for now, closes the book on the chicken issue. The urban chickens were hotly debated at the meeting, just as they have been since Anderson first brought the issue to the Board in November. 

Anderson requested permission to raise four chickens as part of a home-school project. After finding out it was against the law, Anderson sought out a way to change things. He presented his case to the Board of Aldermen in November.

, the Board of Aldermen, Board of Adjustment and Planning and Zoning Commission heard the first plans for a code change. During a presentation at the joint meeting, the city leaders heard a plan to have a permit-based system that would charge residents $40 a year to own no more than four hens. All hens would have to be housed in a coop that met city standards.

After sitting for a few weeks, the Board . At the March 10 meeting, several members of the Board spoke out against the chickens based on concerns from residents. 

The Planning and Zoning Commission dealt the issues a serious blow at the April meeting. The Commission the Board of Aldermen deny the request. After that request, the Board debated the issue at the April 14 meeting before finally voting down the Bill on Thursday. 

Despite the loss, Nick’s father was pleased that the city at least followed through and treated the request seriously.

“I was really appreciative of all the Alderman and everyone at the city taking their time and really putting forth the effort to really look at this,” Rich Anderson said. 

Rita April 29, 2011 at 12:25 PM
I am so disappointed. Chickens (properly maintained) would have less of an impact on neighbors than dogs. And chickens provide more than just the comfort of a pet.
Billy Beaver April 29, 2011 at 02:55 PM
"Slippery slope" is the worst excuse ever, and one that's made by cowards. Can you even imagine the looks on our Founding Fathers' faces if they knew that in the United States of America a boy would be banned from having backyard chickens because it might lead to goats? And that might lead to...what? Why don't we just make a rule that parents can't have children, because that might lead to kids who want to keep chickens? Slippery slope totally flattened.
Billy Beaver April 29, 2011 at 03:13 PM
"No, kid, you can't have a couple of chickens. Better to buy eggs and support battery farming. Let's keep hens in wire cages the size of a filing drawer with 8-10 birds per cage, in a shed with thousands of other cages, and cut their beaks off so they don't peck each other, as God intended."
Diana K. April 29, 2011 at 03:22 PM
Chickens aren't allowed, but pot bellied pigs are?! It amazes me how at the beginning of this issue, all but one alderman supported passage. The lone opposing alderman happened to be on the zoning board, and then all of a sudden the zoning commission votes it down. The only alderman who stuck to his guns and remained in favor of urban chickens was Gus Elliott. St. Peters used to be a farming community. I guess the powers that be have forgotten that fact, and are so worried a few backyard chickens might lower our ratings in the "Best Places To Live". I'm sorry, but when cities just keep restricting what law abiding home owners can do on their own private property, it's not a best place to live.
Ed bell April 29, 2011 at 04:08 PM
I am totally opposed to having chickens considering the kid who wanted to do it is a couple houses down from me. I want to know how a 12 year old can cause this much of a stir when he can't vote, does not pay property tax, etc. . Well I do and my opinion is NO farm animals period. If you want to raise them, buy a farm. Subdivisions are no place to do such.
Billy Beaver April 29, 2011 at 04:40 PM
Mr. Bell, I can understand not wanting to live next door to a hoglot, but I don't understand your opposition to a few chickens. They are quiet, kill insects, earn their keep in eggs, and are not dangerous nor smelly. A hen has never mauled a child to death, stalked songbirds, and doesn't wake neighbors in the night. Can you explain your opposition? I am really trying to understand why people are against this.
Ed bell April 29, 2011 at 07:55 PM
I grew up for 27 years in an area that where chickens were raised foe both personal and commercial reasons and the smell is horrible. I just recently purchased the house I am in and it came down to two houses I liked but one had a chicken coop so I decided against it and moved into tanglewood after researching their bypass and farm animals are not allowed. I just don't think a subdivision is the place to do such practice. Not to mention the chance of dropping neighbors property values. I am sorry the kid cannot do his little project and I am having a hard time trying to understand how a 12 year old can even propose this and cost our taxpayers money to even discuss this issue when he himself is not a taxpayer or has a vote that can be counted. I spoke with alderman Elliott on Tuesday and voiced my opinion on the matter and he seemed a little upset that the tanglewood subdivision had sent out a notice that this was going on . As a homeowner, I appreciate the notice that such was going on and info on where and how to voice my opinion on said matter.
Mary April 30, 2011 at 04:13 PM
Too bad, really. It would be nice to have a couple of local chickens. It's also worth pointing out that, while the young man doesn't vote (yet!) or pay taxes (yet!), his parents do.
Bill May 01, 2011 at 03:02 AM
Seems like a nice young man, but frankly, I don't want to live next door to a henhouse.
Rita May 01, 2011 at 04:23 PM
Maybe, when considering whether or not to pass the bill allowing chickens, the bill could have worded to allow chickens, but in accordance to a subdivisions by-laws. There are some older subdivisions that aren't pristine, postage-stamp, look alike neighborhoods that I could see backyard chickens easily "fitting in", while I can see the expensive, ostentatious neighborhoods not wanting anything to do with lowly chickens. Obviously, I was totally for allowing chickens. The benefits far outweigh the negatives. "Up to four hens" is not going to result in a stinky, loud mess. I love dogs, but as I stated in a previous comment, a couple of chickens penned in a backyard has far less impact on neighbors, or the general public, than a single dog, whether in a backyard or being walked on a leash. Dogs bark, irritating those within hearing distance, which can be quite a long way, inconsiderate owners don't pick up after their dogs, leaving behind piles of nasty you-know-what for people to step in. At one time I had a neighbor that had a large dog in his backyard, which connected to my side/backyard. This neighbor seldom picked up after his dog and in the summertime, when we were wanting to sit on our back patio to relax and enjoy the outdoors, we had to instead, sit and put up with the smell emanating from the neighbors yard. Let me tell you, it doesn't take too many times for a large dog going in his backyard in the summertime for it to really start to smell bad.
Mary May 01, 2011 at 04:59 PM
I thought subdivision rules always do stand up in addition to local ordinances . . .
Bradley Adriane January 18, 2013 at 01:37 AM
Actually I have friends in Webster Groves who DO have chickens and they have them in the BACK, raised on organic feed and everyone buys FRESH EGGS from them. So St. Peters has it ALL WRONG.
Bradley Adriane January 18, 2013 at 01:39 AM
That's right! They do. My friends have chickens in Webster Groves and there is no ordinance against it there. Everyone buys FRESH eggs from them. I wish I lived closer because I would buy them myself!
Bradley Adriane January 18, 2013 at 01:40 AM
You can have them in Webster Groves!
Angela Baldwin January 18, 2013 at 03:01 PM
His parents do and it was part of their school curriculum which THEY PAY FOR! Thank God your not my neighbor. Oh' Let me guess you are a Christian who is looked at highly in your church therefore where you live has to look perfect... You probably screw women other than your wife & beat your kids. You have to control others to keep your windows closed... What a waste...
Aaron Hager April 22, 2013 at 09:18 PM
This is a highly dissappointing outcome :(

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