Voters reject backyard chickens

By: 
ANTHONY ALANIZ

Twenty-three percent of Tecumseh registered voters headed to the ballot box Tuesday, voting down a proposed backyard chicken ordinance 826 to 625.

City council voted down a proposed ordinance in 2014 to allow backyard chickens in the city  and a subsequent request for a trial period for the poultry. After receiving a petition earlier this year from proponents of the issue, council voted to put the proposal on the general election ballot.

“I think in many ways we were successful in what we set out to do because we did raise awareness and we got people thinking and talking about backyard chickens,” said Lee Walsh, a backyard chicken supporter and organizer. “We’re disappointed, of course, but not discouraged. We’ve educated residents, and we brought a large group of people together to work on a common goal. When we try again — and we will — this issue will be more familiar to voters.”

Walsh said she’d received feedback from voters that will help craft better backyard chicken ordinances going forward, like needing neighbor approval before getting backyard chickens. She added that it is not uncommon for a chicken initiative to fail on the first attempt and succeed in the longer term, noting it took Grand Rapids five years to pass its ordinance.

For Tecumseh City Council, newcomer Gayle Keiser ousted longtime incumbent Laurence Van Alstine Jr. He’s served on council since 2001. Reelected were Vicki Philo and Gary Naugle. Keiser, Philo and Naugle received 763, 815 and 778 votes respectively.

Van Alstine Jr. received 637 votes while newcomer Jason Ziemer received 601 votes. There were eight write-in votes.

During the last city council election in 2013, 628 of 6,361 registered voters turned up to the polls. This year, 1,459 voters, of 6,382 registered, hit the voting booth.

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Tecumseh Herald

 

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