Commissioners start the process to allow chickens in White City

Jackson County commissioners on Wednesday voiced support for allowing chickens in White City.

Residents there recently received warning letters telling them to remove their poultry to comply with current rules. Commissioners showed an interest in resolving the ban on chickens in White City, the only part of unincorporated Jackson County where chickens aren't allowed.

"Sorry for taking so long for the wheel of government to move," Commissioner C.W. Smith said.

Michelle Hayes, who has five chickens, said, "This is an awesome opportunity for families to be more self-sufficient."

The letters had warned the residents to get rid of chickens and other farm animals or risk a $600 fine. If unresolved, the fines could have gone as high as $10,000.

Many county residents denounced the potential fines and expressed dismay at the ban on chickens in White City, spurring Jackson County commissioners to say they'd take a look at easing the regulations.

Most cities in the county allow chickens and other small farm animals. In fact, chickens are increasingly common in cities because of the depressed economy, as well as growing interest in locally produced food.

In the new ordinance, commissioners included language requiring poultry and other farm animals to be inside an enclosure in White City.

The commissioners will hold readings of the ordinance at 9:30 a.m., Dec. 14, and at 9:30 a.m., Dec. 28, in the Jackson County Courthouse auditorium, 10 S. Oakdale Ave.

— Damian Mann

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