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Kingwood City Council updates ordinance concerns

KINGWOOD — A possible update to Kingwood Ordinance 90.7 was met with mixed concerns at the Tuesday evening meeting of Kingwood City Council.

Some residents want to change the ordinance so they can keep chickens within the city limits.

Councilwoman Tina Turner said she received several calls from individuals who want to keep chickens, including one she respects, but didn’t say who that was. Mayor Jean Guillot said he also received calls.

Councilman Dick Shaffer said he doesn’t see anything wrong with people having chickens, if they are fenced in.

Councilman Josh Fields agreed. He said he wasn’t against changing the ordinance as long as the chickens are controlled.

Guillot said he contacted Morgantown officials and they told him Morgantown allows two chickens per coop, which has to meet certain requirements.

“The chief (Chief of Police James Montague) doesn’t want to count chickens and measure coops,” he said.

Montague agreed, saying he believes allowing chickens in city limits will snowball and depreciate home values.

“What about chickens sold at Tractor Supply, and the farm animals during the Buckwheat Festival?” Guillot asked.

Tractor Supply sells young chickens and ducks. FFA members show and auction their farm animals during the Buckwheat Festival at Fireman’s Field.

Currently, Ordinance 90.7, Maintenance of Prohibited Animals and Fowl, states “No person, being the owner, lessor or occupant of any lot or parcel of land within the city shall keep, harbor or maintain, or knowingly permit to be kept, harbored or maintained any animal or fowl prohibited in the city by § 90.06 upon any such lot or parcel of land, or neglect or refuse to remove or abate the nuisance occasioned by the keeping and maintaining of such animal or fowl upon any such lot or parcel of land within 24 hours after such person has knowledge or the existence of such nuisance, or within 24 hours after service of notice thereof in writing from the City Council.”

No further action was taken.

Kingwood isn’t the first town in Preston County to face the dilemma of having chickens within city or town limits. In 2016, Trellis Smith and Lucas Tatham collected signatures on a petition requesting a change to the Reedsville town ordinance that would allow chickens in the town limits.

Tatham and Smith, owners of Tatham’s Garden Center Modern Homestead, told council members they kept their chickens in a large pen so they couldn’t escape, destroy anything, or get onto the road.

The ordinance change passed.

Smith said there has been no complaints about the chickens since the ordinance passed.

“People stop by to see them and the kids like them,” he said.

In other business, Kingwood council approved $3,000 for an AmeriCorp person to help set up a merchant’s association under Blueprint and survey local small businesses. The $3,000 would come from ARPA Funds.

“The ice cream shop closed, and Cat Daddie’s is closing,” Councilwoman Karen Kurilko said. “I would be willing to be the supervisor.”

Kurilko said with Kingwood recently losing two more businesses, it would be a way to find out what local small business needs are and to help them keep open.

The next meeting of the Kingwood City Council will be 7 p.m. Feb 22.

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