BEATRICE – In the future, you might want to not fun afoul of this one.  Residents who keep fowl on their properties….such as chickens or ducks…may be going under a new ordinance in the future.

The Beatrice City Council this week gave initial approval to a rule change that would limit owners to no more than six fowl for each single-family residence.
"If you have a duplex or something like that, they're not allowed. The coops or cages have to be ten feet away from the property line. They have to be in a covered enclosure so they're not able to roam free. No roosters....and we put the effective date of July 1st".

City Administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer described the proposed rule at Monday night’s council meeting. Councilman Ted Fairbanks contends it will affect a lot of people in the city.  "I'm asking those people that have those....please pay attention to what we're doing."

A just-finalized new ordinance on junked or inoperable vehicles drew hardly a scratch of public attention…despite several past attempts in years to modify that regulation.

Chairman of a special committee that’s been reviewing the city’s codes, Councilman Gary Barnard says it’s about balancing property rights when it comes to an ordinance governing fowl.

"When somebody else's livestock, or whatever you want to call it affects somebody else's property, they have a right to have peaceful use of their property, just like the person with the chickens. We researched it and look at other communities and what they do. We looked at Hastings....and this is the best we can come up with. It's a compromise. It was the day after it rained this summer...a very good friend of mine...I've known him for a long time, and his wife. They have a nice patio. They couldn't sit on it. After the rain I went up there right away...and that thing stunk so bad....there were like thirty broilers in the back yard. That's a problem and if we don't stop it now, it's just going to get worse. Everybody has a right to do things, but the property owners next to you also have a right to protect their property values."

Because there’s no current ordinance about when to call fowl, Barnard said a person in town could own 500 chickens. Fines under the new rule would fall under the general schedule of fines for nuisance situations.

The council approved the new ordinance on only one reading…..meaning it will be back in a couple of weeks for second-round consideration. It must clear three rounds to go into effect.