I’m quite interested in this chicken flap. Mind you, I’d like to see an end to all the puns that writers like to use to prove they’re clever.
One reason I’m interested in this is that I plan to build a chicken coop this spring and house a few chickens. The staff report on the Urban Hen pilot project is an interesting read. It’s the first time I can remember that staff went in such a totally different direction with a report than what council asked for.
Council asked staff to outline a pilot project on urban chickens for discussion with the Urban Hen Committee. Instead, staff came back with a recommendation against the project.
I just got off the phone with City CAO Randy Diehl, who explained that staff felt it must consider not just council’s resolution but the discussion around it. “From our perspective we felt strongly enough about the issue to address the questions that went unanswered (during council debate),” he told me.
Diehl admitted, “We (staff) don’t support it because we have many other problems with pets. . . . It’s about values at the end of the day.”
I have a high regard for City Hall staff because they are very good at what they do, and I know how hard they work. But it seems to me they went too far in this report. They could have raised all the concerns they wanted about urban chickens, but within the context of what needed to be answered via the pilot project. They could have made lots of recommendations about questions that would need to be answered, without opposing the project.
Council makes policy, staff carries it out, but sometimes the line gets blurred. I suggest it got blurred in the case of chickens. Council should have asked staff to go back and do what was asked in the first place.
I’ll have more to say about the so-called ruffled-feathers controversy in Saturday’s Armchair Mayor column in The Daily News.