The chicks may be on their way back.
Lawrence city commissioners at their Tuesday meeting are set to change a city ordinance that caused a local retailer to shut down its annual “Chick Days Sale,” where customers bought baby chickens and ducks to raise.
Orscheln Farm & Home shut down its chick sale operations in mid-April — two to three weeks earlier than normal — after the city advised the store it was out of compliance with an ordinance passed to regulate the raising of chickens in residential neighborhoods.
The backyard chicken law required that coops for chickens or ducks have at least 10 square feet of space per bird. Orscheln officials said that was feasible for the large number of small chicks they house during the spring-time sale.
The city attorney’s office said the current chicken ordinance didn’t have language that created an exception for commercial enterprises. The ordinance up for consideration at Tuesday’s meeting will allow for businesses such as Orscheln and Tractor Supply Company to sell the young chicks for a limited time.
A memo from city attorney Toni Wheeler said the new ordinance also will make it clear the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t have to comply with the 10 square feet requirement when it housing chicks that are shipped through the mail.
Wheeler, in the memo, said the original ordinance approved in 2009 didn’t foresee the impact it would have on some retailers.
Commissioners will consider the ordinance change as part of their consent agenda. The commission meets at 6:35 p.m. on Tuesday at City Hall.