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Chickens in Edgewood Cause Concern for Resident

Edgewood City Council listened to a complaint about the chicken ordinance Monday night which the city passed a few months ago. Bob Barth, who finds himself in the ubiquitous position of reluctant chicken neighbor, stood up to relate why he thinks council should rescind the ordinance, or at least tweak it to make it easier on the neighbors of the residents who own the fowl.

"The chickens run up and down the fenceline squawking, and it is extremely irritating and obnoxious," said Barth. "I find it very disconcerting and annoying. I would say it does a dance on my quality of life."

He went on to say the homeowners don't even make a pretense of abiding by the ordinance, stating that they turn the chickens loose and go inside, instead of standing out in the yard to make sure the chickens were under control. He told of several close calls where the chickens launched themselves toward his yard and he almost had a chicken on his property.

Another neighbor reportedly did not have the same luck.

"I am wondering if a privacy fence could be required," Barth said. "I don't know what the answer is to this. The chickens run about 3 to 4 times a week. And my wife says the nice young couple who live next door don't come out any more and she misses them. The chickens are definitely impacting our lives. I hope you can do something about this."

City Administrator Brian Dehner said there would be a problem with requiring a certain kind of fence because the city has an ordinance specifying what kind of fences are allowed in the city. It was also brought up that in order to cite someone on violating an ordinance, the incident has to be witnessed by the police, much the same as if a resident has three dogs, for example, who would bark excessively, that incident would have to be witnessed. Also, as Barth brought up, it is not a certainty that having an adult in the back yard with the chickens would make them mind their manners enough to stay in the yard.

Barth agreed to revisit the issue after the first of the year, as Dehner had suggested to him.

"Hopefully we can get this rectified for you," said Mayor John Link.

In other business, Dennis Gordon, Executive Director of PDS, Planning and Development Services of Kenton County came to ask council if they would consider joining the group instead of having their own Codes Enforcement Board. He talked about the One Stop Shop which brings the response of cities under the same roof.

"In 2007 we created the board with seven communities on board, Crescent Springs, Crestview Hills, Kenton Vale, Ryland Heights, Ft. Wright, Taylor Mill, and Kenton County," said Gordon. "Then in 2014 Park Hills and Villa Hills joined, and early this year Independence joined. We were able to extend the amount of communities that can be on the board." 

Gordon explained how properties which are going into foreclosure may have tall grass or broken windows, or a sagging front porch, or other things that might be an eyesore in the community and the banks are reluctant to register the properties right away so the cities are at a loss to know who to talk to to fix the problems in the properties. PDS takes over the responsibilities of locating the owners or the banks or whoever needs to be contacted. This frees the city governments up from having to do all the work themselves and they can go from a board of 4 or 5 down to one representative on the PDS board.

"We are moving forward for the whole county," said Gordon. "We want the message to go out to the banks. We are pushing for a vacant property registration ordinance which requires banks to register the property once it is foreclosed. And if you don't find being in the group is working for your city, you can get out any time."

Council motioned to allow Mayor Link to sign the interlocal agreement which allows Edgewood to be part of the group.

John Chamberlin, from VanGorder, Walker and Company, Inc, gave a report on the annual audit of the city and he pronounced the city's finances in a strong cash position, having about ten months of available funds to pay bills or in reserve. One thing that had to be added to the liabilities is $3.9 million in net pension liability.

"You are not required to pay that," said Chamberlin. "In fact you couldn't begin to pay it, because they would just readjust it for next year. They won't allow you to pay it, but you have to list it."

The net position for the city after the assets and liabilities comes to about $23.7 million, and Chamberlin said they had good management to budget variances.

Finally, Mayor Link announced that property bills are due December 31 and there is a dropbox outside the city building if people needed to use it. Also the December 21 council meeting is canceled and the next meeting will be January 4, 2016. Letters to Santa can be dropped off at the city building through December 9th.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer