A Papillion family that has raised chickens in a backyard coop says it won't run afoul of City Hall.
Steve and Sara Zivny said Wednesday that they are arranging to relocate their chickens as a consequence of the Papillion City Council's decision this week not to permit residents to keep chickens or pigeons as personal pets.
“They will be going to a local farm in Sarpy County that is five to 10 minutes away,” Steve Zivny said. “They will still be our pets, and we will still be able to take care of them.”
Papillion's current code did not allow chickens or pigeons within residential districts. However, the city allowed the Zivnys to keep their chickens until the council reached its decision.
The Zivnys said they didn't realize until a few months ago that it was improper to have chickens or pigeons in the city. They began raising chickens in their backyard in April 2011.
“We just assumed since surrounding communities allowed chickens that Papillion did as well,” Steve Zivny said.
Rules for keeping chickens vary depending on the community.
Like Papillion, neighboring La Vista also does not permit people in residential areas to have backyard chickens. Chickens are allowed in Omaha but only with a permit through the Douglas County Health Department. Bellevue also has granted permits to some residents who raise chickens. One family has been raising 10 to 15 chickens at its home near Bellevue East High School since the late 1980s.
The Zivnys said they were stunned by the council's 6-2 vote against letting them keep their chickens.
None of the Papillion officials who voted against allowing chickens made any comments prior to the vote. After the meeting, some of the councilmen interviewed cited odors, noise and the fact that chickens didn't seem appropriate for a growing city as reasons for their opposition.
The Zivnys said all of their immediate neighbors were aware that they erected their large backyard chicken coop in 2011. None of the neighbors, they said, has raised complaints about noise, smells or other matters regarding their chickens.
The Zivnys have lived in their split-level house that abuts the Papio Bay Aquatic Center for about 15 years. They said they don't plan to relocate in response to the council's decision.
“We love it here. It's great,” Sara Zivny said. “Papillion has won some national awards for being a great place. But even people with different pets or unusual pets should be welcome.”
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