On a night when Alton aldermen were voting on salary increases for elected officials, a water shut-off agreement and a debt recovery program, the biggest turn-out was saved for supporters of the backyard chicken movement. Extra chairs had to be brought into Council Chambers to accommodate the large crowd of chicken advocates. Their collective support was enough to influence aldermen to pass a modified ordinance that will allow the fowl to be kept in the city.
A couple of months ago, a concerned Alton resident spoke in front of the city council, concerned he may have to get rid of the chickens he keeps in his backyard. While assured that he would likely be left alone, unless a complaint was filed, a movement to legalize the chickens was underway. One concern some aldermen had was over noise issues, but chicken owner Meredith Elston says that is normally not an issue.
She says this is not like a family farm where there are so many chickens that sanitation become a problem. Aldermen passed an amendment disallowing roosters, but increasing the number of chickens allowed from 4 to 5. The full council will vote on the resolution tomorrow night at 7:30.