Newburgh Town Council Considering Chicken Ordinance

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NEWBURGH, INDIANA — “Do chickens make noise?”

It may sound like a simple question, but it is an important one for the Newburgh Town Council as it decides whether residents, like Courtney Marx, can keep chickens at their homes.

Newburgh passed an ordinance in 2013, banning chickens from homes within the town.

“It lists chicken in the list of animals that are not permitted to be kept in town,” Newburgh Town Attorney Chris Wischer said.

The Town Council is revisiting the ordinance, vetting the proposal at Wednesday’s council meeting.

“To say it has to be so many feet away from another property, I don’t know where to go with that because we have such small lots,” Town Council President Leanna Hughes said.

“If one objects at one location in the neighborhood and not another, does that present some kind of legal issue?” Councilmember Bill Kavanaugh said.

The new ordinance proposed is similar to the one in Evansville: Residents can have up to six hens, no roosters, and must keep the chickens in a coop 50 feet away from other residences.

“If you’re following that Evansville one like I explained to you, I don’t think you guys will have any problems,” Marx said.

The chicken topic lasted about half an hour at the council meeting, much less than the Warrick County Board of Zoning Appeals meeting in October concerning a new chicken farm north of Boonville that lasted 10 hours, which has drawn the ire of some residents protesting the farm’s location.

For Marx who keeps chickens on his property right now, this new ordinance makes sense.

“To permit six, I dn’t see why a family would need more than six,” he said. “You can get five to six eggs in a day during those times they are laying. If you can eat that many in a day, good luck to you.”

The Town Council said the purpose of Wednesday’s discussion was to clear up some of the language in the ordinance. It will likely be voted on at the next meeting on November 22. The town attorney said he will be putting together another draft of the ordinance for consideration

The Town Council also extended Marx’s right to keep his chickens on his property until the end of the year or until the ordinance is voted on.

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