Chickens don’t fly with the Raymore City Council

By Laurie Bassett-Edmonds

RAYMORE – The Raymore City Council failed to approve a code change Monday evening that would allow residents to keep 6 or fewer chickens on property zoned RR, R-1A, and R-1.

Fowl were first allowed in Agriculture and Rural Estate zoning areas in 2006. In 2018, that was expanded to include the R-1 zoning class on lots of 3 or more acres.

City staff prepared background information for council, including the information that Lee’s Summit, Grandview, Belton, Harrisonville, and Kansas City all currently allow chickens.

An organized group (complete with matching t-shirts) called the Raymore Urban Chicken Coalition has been spearheading the push for changes to code. With approximately 17 members present at the meeting, their group made up the vast majority of the audience. Among the benefits they cited were hormone-free and antibiotic-free fresh eggs, chemical-free pest control, and educational benefits for children.

Member Susan Dooley said that the proposed ordinance was restrictive but called that a positive thing. She said that she wants ordinances in place to keep Raymore beautiful.

Council members Sonja Abdelgawad and John Berendzen spoke in favor of allowing chickens in the city. Berendzen said that if it is done right, chickens won’t even be noticed by surrounding property owners. Abdelgawad also mentioned the importance of allowing residents some freedom to use their property as they see fit.

However, the other councilmen voiced their opposition. Jay Holman said he didn’t believe that people really want chickens in Raymore. Joe Burke cited concerns with fecal dust. Kevin Barber felt it would cause conflict between neighbors. Reginald Townsend didn’t want to create issues for homeowners’ associations. Tom Circo said it would be too destructive for Raymore. And Dale Jacobson expressed his concern about chickens bringing additional predators to the area.

Resident Jeff Adams voiced his opposition, saying that his neighbors had ducks and they made a mess. Berendzen countered that the proposed ordinance would help rectify the duck situation.

In the end, the ordinance failed in a 2-6 vote. The next agenda item, pertaining to enforcement, was removed since the code change failed.

In other business, a contract with Superior Bowen Asphalt Co, LLC for the 2019 Street Preservation Project was approved in a unanimous vote. The streets that will receive upgrades are listed on the city’s website.

Two agenda items pertaining to the rezoning of Conway Place, a proposed Planned Unit Development located east of Sunset Lane and north of Pine Street, were continued to the July 8 meeting. The Planning Commission did not have a quorum when it came before them last week, thus pushing off the date that the proposal could come before City Council.

Second readings were approved on the following: an easement vacation on an abandoned sewer line, access road and lift station in the Good Ranch subdivision; a budget amendment for the Meter Conversion Project; a contract with RL Phillips Construction, Inc. for the Station House Renovation Project as part of T.B. Hanna Station Improvements; an agreement with the Raymore-Peculiar School District for School Resource Officer services; a contract with Kansas City Audio Video for Centerview AV Production System/Outdoor Speakers; and a contract with Constable Sanitation for Residential Waste Collection. All were approved unanimously.

Mayor Kris Turnbow presented a proclamation to the Ray-Pec Sunrise Optimist Club honoring the 100th Anniversary of Optimists. The Ray-Pec club was organized in June of 1980, and since then has contributed more than $1 million to the community. Club President Kevin Barber accepted the proclamation along with several other members in attendance.