The Durango City Council has to make its share of important decisions that will affect how the city spends taxpayers' money, what the city will look like in years to come - both in terms of size and aesthetics - and how to best serve the many and often competing interests of the city's residents. Those decisions can be contentious and time-consuming in the making. The decision about whether to allow residents to keep chickens on their property should not be counted among those.
A number of city residents have app-roached Councilor Michael Rendon asking him to propose an ordinance allowing chickens within city limits. There are no compelling arguments against the proposal, and plenty of safeguards that could be written into such a law to prevent potential fallout from non-poultry-loving neighbors. Accordingly, the City Council can and should draft an ordinance allowing Durangoans to raise chickens for eggs or meat.
In large numbers, and with roosters among them, chickens can certainly be annoying and messy. The same is true for large numbers of any animal - or people for that matter - and any law allowing the birds should have limits on both number and type of chicken sanctioned for certain lot sizes. No one wants to get back to the region's agricultural roots so much that a 5:30 a.m. wake-up call by the neighborhood Bantam is acceptable. But a few hens clucking and pecking their way around a backyard, providing food for their owners, is nothing to squawk at, and certainly will not relegate Durango to a has-been town that could have risen to the ranks of a mini-Aspen if not for its chicken-friendly stance.
Instead, allowing residents to raise a reasonable number of chickens is a nod toward the sustainability that the city, its councilors and residents have all indicated is important to the community. It is difficult to see any legitimate reasons to oppose such a measure.
Allow chickens in city limits.