Huber Heights rejects chickens, backs soft water

Huber Heights voters rejected a proposal to allow chickens in backyards, but overwhelmingly support a multi-million dollar plan to establish municipal water softening in the city.

Issue 22 — dealing with chickens on residential properties — and Issue 23 — dealing with municipal water softening — are both advisory, meaning the results are simply a recommendation for how city council should proceed. The results of Issues 24-29 deal with changes to the city charter, and results of those issues are binding.

Issue 22 — Chickens

Rejection of Issue 22 is the latest setback in a years-long effort by a group of residents to allow chickens on residential properties. But proponents said they were glad the issue made the ballot, regardless of the outcome.

“We started this movement because our family thought this was an issue worth fighting for,” said Sarah McBride, a pro-chickens activist. “Just the fact that we got it on the ballot was a big accomplishment.”

Under current law, chickens are not allowed on residential lots less than one acre, except lots zoned R-1 and R-2.

Passage of Issue 22 would have recommended council approve a plan to allow chickens on residential properties under certain conditions. Residents would be required to obtain a zoning permit for a backyard pen or coup, where a maximum four hens could live on a residential property.

Issue 23 — Water softening

Passage of Issue 23 indicates the majority of voters in Huber Heights recommend city council invest in water softening infrastructure at a cost not to exceed $12 million.

If council agrees with voters, residents can expect an increase of about $6.50 per month on their water bills to pay for the project. Ohio Water Development Authority loans will also be sought to pay for the project, according to city documents.

Municipal water rates in Huber Heights are already expected to rise due to a plan to increase water pressure.

Issues 24-29 — Charter amendments

Huber Heights voters faced six charter amendment changes in an effort to amend the document unchanged since the 1980s.

Issue 24 failed by about 6 percentage points. Approval would have added charter language recognizing the city's six council wards and requires council to "periodically review" ward boundaries to ensure sizes are "relatively equal,"

Issue 25 also failed. It would have added language stating interpretation of the charter "shall not be construed as limiting in any way the general power" granted to the city by the Ohio Constitution.

Issue 26 was approved and designates the mayor as a non-voting member on all council-appointed committees. Current language designating the mayor as an "ex-officio" member of all council-appointed would be removed.

Issue 27 easily won and allows the mayor eight calendar days to fill a council vacancy if council fails to do so within 30 days.

Issue 28 was approved and designates the clerk of council as the deputy clerk of council's direct supervisor.

Issue 29 also was approved and changes the way council approves legislation. Each resolution would require one public reading before passage and immediate adoption, while each ordinance would be read twice, unless a vote of two-thirds of council waives the requirement.