The Catoosa County News

CHICKEN WAR: Controvers­y isn’t over

- By Tamara Wolk

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

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Chuck Harris
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Chad Young
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Larry Black
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Jeff Long

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