The Pulaski County Sheltered Workshop (PCSW) appeared at Richland’s Board of Aldermen meeting with a large crowd of supporters.
According to Lacie Karr, General Manager for PCSW, thirty-one supporters came to the Board of Aldermen meeting in Richland Tuesday night. Karr gives all the credit for the support to Judy Carson, the person that helped organize the community support for PCSW.
The crowd was there in response to PCSW’s ongoing issue with the city over a request to raise chickens as part of their farming operations.
Donna Sackett, a Richland resident, spoke up during the city council meeting: “I was born and raised here. I love Richland. I want to see sidewalks. I want to see all of that. Folks, it’s no big deal what they want; it’s just chickens.”
Karr quoted a statement from PCSW’s attorney, stating, “The PCSW Attorney Chris Allen has reviewed the industrial ordinance that is currently in place and has determined that we fall under a feed yard. There would be no need to change the current zoning ordinance. Also, we should note that permission from the City of Richland for us to add Chickens to our land was not necessary. However, in an effort to maintain a good relationship with the City of Richland we did so.”
Karr went on to say that PCSW’s response to the $600 cost of changing the disputed city ordinance came from their attorney as well.
“As far as paying the City of Richland attorney to change the zoning ordinance for an industrial zone the sum of $600.00, our attorney has kindly offered to change the ordinance and submit it to the City of Richland attorney so that there would not be any extra burden on the city,” Karr said.
Karr warned that PCSW’s attorney would take action should the city continue to try to prevent the organization from having chickens.
“Last thing that we need to note is that if the Board of Alderman still will not allow us to have a feed yard at PCSW our attorney will be sending a letter of demand to the City of Richland attorney, and will start working on getting a declaratory judgment if the Board of Alderman so decides to continue to not support PCSW and our efforts to make Richland a better place,” Karr said.
The chickens issue has been getting a lot of attention on Facebook through personal pages, the Daily Guide’s Facebook page, and a page called Richland Current Postings.
Carolyn Miller posted, “Even in San Francisco, people can have chickens! As a relative of Max Thornsberry, I am on your side! This would be a wonderful addition to your program and mean so much to your members, including my grandniece, Ashley Bohrer. Your program sounds wonderful, and I hope the city will see reason and allow this special permission.”
Sackett posted, “I can’t express enough positivity for what has been accomplished PCSW. This video has completely blown me away. Everyone involved in this project has done an amazing job. Thank you so much to the staff and volunteers for your hard work and dedication. I will be praying that the city will come to their senses and allow the chickens to this wonderful project. If there is an ordinance against it...then change it, and yes it is that simple. Please don’t take something away from these disables [sic] folks. They don’t ask for much and it takes such little to make them happy. Why does every good, kind and comforting situation have to be so difficult.”
Karr was even active on social media, posting, “That said, PCSW's attorney Chris Allen has stated that we are completely within the rights of the Industrial Ordinance and are considered a feed yard which means we need no special permission from the Board of Alderman for chickens. Therefore, we need not as[k] them for approval anymore. Tomorrow [Wednesday] we move forward.”
She ended with a thanks to the community, in her post on Richland Current Postings, “Let me close by saying that none of this would of been able have been accomplished without all of you. By YOU, I mean this amazing community who united tonight [Tuesday night] to support our efforts! We thank you, we appreciate you.”
Karr told the Daily Guide, Wednesday morning, that the 30 baby chicks, that a PCSW volunteer is holding for them, will arrive in about two weeks. Visitors to PCSW will be able to see the chicken operation up and going at that time.
The Daily Guide will continue to follow this story as it develops.