By Haylee Pence
PIQUA – The Piqua City Commission voted against an ordinance allowing backyard chickens with a 4-1 vote at the meeting on Tuesday, April 18.
Vice Mayor Kris Lee voted for the ordinance, while Mayor Cindy Pearson and Commissioners Kazy Hinds, Chris Grissom, and Jim Vetter voted against the ordinance.
The ordinance was in the third and final reading at the meeting and prior to voting, residents were able to provide comments to the commission.
Alisha Richardson, a resident in the first ward of Piqua, provided her thoughts on the benefits of owning chickens, such as sustainability, education, and pest control, along with the history of zoning laws. According to Richardson, zoning laws were put in place to “protect citizens against commercialism.”
Lee said, “I’m listening to both sides. I’ve had people in support and against coming to me. I respect the voice of the people.”
“I’ve had more calls about this than I have anything that I’ve had for the last eight years on the commission. All of the calls that I have had except one has been against this. I’ve only had one that was for it,” said Hinds.
Grissom addressed the same topic stating, “The majority of the people who have reached out to me were against it.”
In other business, a lease agreement for the space at 122 W. High St., formally leased by Rosebud’s Real Food, was approved between the city of Piqua and Thomas Lillicrap for his business.
Lillicrap spoke during the meeting addressing what the business will be selling, which includes rolled ice cream, edible cookie dough ice cream, beverages and Italian ice. Lillicrap discussed how the business would expand in the future to include deli counter items and other food.
The lease agreement is for $1,200 per month, with taxes and utilities included for one year.
Also Tuesday, the commission also passed an ordinance repealing a section of the development code, as part of the code Piqua project. The commission OK’d an amendment to the initially presented ordinance prior to its passage, which involved prohibiting mining within the city limits. All commissioners voted for the amendment and passage of the ordinance.
The ordinance dictates changes to new zoning districts and a zoning map that will be available on the city’s website once completed. It also includes an adjusted fee schedule to include more “minor work,” according to the ordinance.
“Residents should be aware that the city will require a permit for the construction of new fences, and the removal of trees from the right-of-way will require a permit and may require replacement if conditions are suitable for a street tree,” as stated in the ordinance.
The code goes into effect on May 18.
Another approved lease agreement was between the city of Piqua and M&P Farms of Piqua for garden space at Pitsenbarger Park, which according to Assistant City Manager Amy Welker, was going to go unused in 2023.
The leased space will be used to grow flowers for M&P Farms which is planning on selling the flowers locally.
The lease is for $10 per month and will expire after December.
Also approved during the meeting were the following resolutions:
• Lease agreement for space for the Piqua Lady Braves Softball Organization;
• Authorization of participation in the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Cooperative Purchasing Program for the city’s pavement preservation program.
Jeff Pedro, co-owner of Crooked Handle Brewery, addressed the commission to thank commission members and the community for their support with the new business. He also said, “We’re counting on that park project,” referencing the Locke 9 Park reconstruction project.
Hinds responded that the project has been “a long time coming” since it was being discussed when she first joined the commission.