ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- With the price of eggs still on the rise, people living within Odessa’s city limits are pushing the City Council for a change to an existing ordinance that prevents homeowners from raising hens in their own yards. Now, City Council member Mark Matta said the ordinance and proposed change will be on the agenda at a council work session planned for February 14.
Last week, Matta posted a question on Facebook, asking Odessans how they felt about the possible change, and, to his surprise, Matta said almost everyone who replied was on board with the idea.
“The desire to have chicken seems to really be catching on, and I’m really, really encouraged by that,” he said.
One Odessa woman relied to the post saying, “It would help me provide a steady, reliable food source for my family of 7. It would also help me instill hard work/life skills in my children.”
People living in the county said raising hens comes with many benefits aside from egg production. One Ector County woman said having hens in her yard helps with tick prevention and even helps cut down on wasted food, which can be fed to chickens.
“(Chickens) reduce food waste by eating kitchen scraps. And in fact, if just one in every three homes in Odessa had chickens, we could reduce food waste by literally thousands of tons every year. And so that’s a really big deal to me as well,” said Odessa resident Chelsea Franklin.
Now, Matta said even if the ordinance changes, there may still be some limitations.
“We can make sure that it passes, and everyone is safe…and it’s not going to become a nuisance to the neighbors or what not. So, there’s just a lot of areas we have to address,” he said.
But the idea is not without opposition, as evidenced by this Facebook comment, “Absolutely not!! Then before you know it they will add roosters, goats, horses, cows… Even if you limit the number of chickens who is going to check? That will become an unregulated problem.”
However, Matta said the council has seen a major push in support of the idea.
“You know, if this is really what the citizens want and they feel this is going to make their lives better, then there’s definitely something that I’m going to consider. And I’m pretty sure that most of the council members are also taking that into consideration,” he stated.
If you’d like to join in on the conversation, in support of, or against, the proposed change, make plans now to join the upcoming discussion at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 14, at City Hall, located at 411 W 8th Street.