MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) — Mitchell's City Council has rejected a proposal to allow residents to raise chickens in fenced backyards.

Resident Peggy Miiller had asked council members earlier this month to consider the idea of allowing chickens under certain rules, such as limiting the number to six hens and not allowing roosters, which crow. She said chickens can be an educational opportunity and a food source.

The Daily Republic reports that council members voted 5-2 against the idea on Tuesday night, citing widespread public opposition.

City leaders in Pierre and Rapid City last year rejected similar proposals over concerns that chickens could be a nuisance for neighbors.

Meanwhile, landowners concerned about possible problems from a large egg-laying operation planned near Parker are suing its developers and the Turner County Commission.

Sioux Falls-based Sonstegard Foods hopes to put 6 million birds on a farm 2½ miles from Parker. Opponents believe that's too close, and will create problems such as odor. They also contend the County Commission improperly approved new zoning regulations to allow for the chicken operation.

County State's Attorney Matt Olson says the commission did nothing wrong. Officials with Sonstegard Foods say they're reviewing the lawsuit.

Opponents say about 1,200 people live within a 3-mile radius of the proposed site. Sonstegard officials have said they're designing a facility to minimize odor, and that it will create more than 150 jobs.

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