The Catoosa County News
CHICKEN WAR: Controversy isn’t over
The controversy over backyard chickens in Catoosa County rages on. Commissioners had hoped to resolve the issued at its Feb. 21 meeting, which went on for five hours, with more than 100 people in attendance. Instead, the issue was tabled for more consideration.
The controversy has been ongoing more than 10 months.
A public hearing was held before the regular meeting, at which about 30 people spoke in favor of allowing residents to raise chickens in their backyards, with the majority in the crowd supporting them. During the chicken segment of the regular meeting, people had the opportunity to speak again and many did.
To open the segment of the regular meeting, County Attorney Chad Young told commissioners what their options were.
They could vote to leave the county’s Unified Development Code (UDC) as is, which would mean confirming Young’s opinion that chickens are forbidden in R-1 (residential) zones.
Commissioners, Young said, could choose to change the code to allow chickens with no restrictions in R-1 zones, or they could allow chickens under certain circumstances. For instance, they could restrict the number of chickens, which is what the written amendment proposal on the meeting’s agenda did, or they could include property-size requirements.
Commission Chairman Larry Black said that before considering options, he felt clarification was needed on what the commissioners believed about chickens: If commissioners vote this down and leave the code as it is right now, will chickens be forbidden in R-1?
That is the county’s position, Young told Black, but “obviously, you have some citizens that disagree with that.”
District 2 Commissioner Chuck Harris said that he would rather take the time needed to make sure the issue was fully understood before proceeding. He made a motion to table the amendment for further study.
District 1 Commissioner Jeff Long proposed changing one item in the amendment, reducing the distance a chicken house would have to be from other structures.
District 4 Commissioner Charlie Stephens said ultimately he wants everyone who