Several residents hoped the Erie City Council will hear their plea. They’re asking for an ordinance change that would allow them to have backyard chickens in city neighborhoods.

We spoke with one advocate who’s pushing for these changes, and the reaction from the city council president.

Amber Otto said she’s disappointed by an ordinance that prevents homeowners from having backyard chickens in the City of Erie.

A person in violation could be fined up to $300 or imprisoned up to 90 days. Otto, a city resident, said she has to keep her chickens at a farm in Waterford and her home feels empty without them.

She believes city neighborhoods could actually benefit from chickens.

“We’ve helped countless numbers of family members, friends, just community, neighbors with their eggs and we’ve taught the neighborhood kids different things about what it means to have chickens,” said Otto.

Otto said in addition to providing eggs, chickens can also act as pest control.

After speaking at a city council meeting earlier this month, she remained hopeful they can reach an agreement.

“Maybe four to six hens for neighborhoods that want them and no roosters. So, it doesn’t disturb the noise ordinance. Things of that nature. So, I really do believe we can all live amicably amongst each other and still have what we enjoy,” said Otto.

City Council President Chuck Nelson said he realizes there’s growing interest and wants to explore options before the end of the year.

“I think there’s been a pretty big cultural shift. I mean this is generations, where a great grandparents came over, settled in cities, and still brought a little bit of that agriculture with them. I think there’s been a little bit of pushback to get back to this more holistic type of urban living. We’ve been sort of setting our agenda for what we’re going to finish out my year as presidency with and this is one of the top five things that we’re looking at,” said Nelson.