UPDATE: "Urban Chickens" Pass First Reading - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: "Urban Chickens" Pass First Reading

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WRCB-DT) - Chickens are one step closer to legal resident status within the Scenic City limits. The Animal Control Ordinance moved forward Tuesday night in a 6-3 vote.

There were a few changes added in the form of amendments. District 7 Councilman Chris Anderson proposed changing the distance for coops or cages from property lines from 10 to 15 feet. District 2 Councilman Jerry Mitchell then added those who want egg-laying hens should have to get the okay from all neighbors with adjoining properties. Councilman Moses Freeman of District 8 took offense saying it would not be right to give one neighbor veto power over your actions at your home, but he ultimately voted in the affirmative. Both amendments were adopted.

Under the ordinance, neighborhood associations would also be able to opt-out and restrictive covenants would be observed. Chickens are currently allowed on properties five acres or greater. These guidelines, if passed, would allow up to 8 chickens per single-family detached residence within Chattanooga City Limits.

The "urban chickens" portion of the ordinance dominated council interest and conversation.  When the floor was opened for public comment, three people stepped forward, all of them against the measure.  One spoke of health concerns, another of illegal fowl already in her North Chattanooga neighborhood, and to demonstrate the noise level, a third played a recording she claimed was of four chickens next door to her daughter's house in Seattle. 

Amongst the council members, three spoke up saying they were not on board.  Carol Berz from District 6, Larry Grohn from District 4, and District 3's Ken Smith each remarked they had received an overwhelming number of calls from constituents against the measure. In the end, the were the only 'nay' votes in the first reading.

Chairman Yousef Hakeem tried to defer the first reading for a week to gain more input and information, but was voted down. He will now set a time and date for his educational session next week, before the next council meeting and second reading vote. He has asked council members to invite two speakers in favor of the ordinance and two against.

 

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- A Channel 3 camera is there as McKamey officers bring in an injured chicken to its facility.

This one was picked up on Rossville Blvd, and this could be a routine if an ordinance passes in city council allowing for urban chickens.

McKamey director Karen Walsh says it shouldn't be a problem if everyone does their part.

"People who have chickens illegally are the ones that are usually the problems because they don't house them properly."

The new measure would have a fee of about $100 for a permit and allow for up to 10 hens. There would be strict rules on coop requirements which would be enforced by McKamey.

Councilman Larry Grohn says he isn't sure the proposal has gained enough support.

"I haven't had a single person from my district say they would like this ordinance."

McKamey would be required to build another addition to house the chickens they pick up.

Some of the costs could be put to the city and that ruffled a few feathers.

"It is always a concern when we do something new or different with animals we could end up with an influx of," Walsh says.

Grohn says what hasn't been discussed enough is the true costs of the chickens. He says it is about $300 after fees and inspections and that would ultimately fall on the taxpayer.

He says many people won't flock to that idea.

"Two thirds of the cost is going to be bore by other taxpayers. That just doesn't fly with me."

The council will discuss the ordinance tonight at its meeting.

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