City Council votes not to lift urban chicken ban - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: City Council votes not to lift urban chicken ban

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

A week after voting in favor of urban chickens, the Chattanooga City Council took a step back.

"There might be a question of the constitutionality of that ordinance that you passed on first reading," Assistant City Attorney Phil Noblett told members during Tuesday's agenda session.

The council threw out a section requiring residents to get consent from neighbors before owning chickens to avoid legal issues.

"I didn't want to see a situation where neighbors would start fighting with neighbors over making a decision about what their neighbors should and couldn't do," said Moses Freeman.

But the debate didn't stop there.

Dozens of concerned citizens showed up on both sides of the issue.

"This is about so much more than chickens," said Lana Sutton, representing the group Chicken Legal, "this is about the right to grow food in your yard."

"A lot of people already have chickens and you never even know it," added Lori Brown.

"I tell you it's not a nice noise at 5:00 in the morning," said Ron Roy, who showed up against the ordinance all together, "not too many noises are, but the chicken clucking is not and it starts at 5:00 in the morning and goes until sun down."

"It will devalue the property values and it will increase the number of unsold homes in the city limits," said Anthony Randolph, also opposed.

Council members listened as ten residents, five from both sides, were given three minutes a piece to make their plea.

After months of debate the ordinance failed 3 to 6, taking with it several other sections drafted by the Animal Control Board.

"This ordinance is so much larger than the only piece that we're talking about," said Councilman Ken Smith just before the vote. "There is a lot of work that went into this in all aspects of animal control, and it is unfortunate that the one aspect about the chickens has really taken over."

"I thought we had discussed chickens for far too long and it was primarily at the hands of people who were opposed to it trying to make it as difficult as it is," said Freeman, who was one of three members to vote in favor of the proposal.

Chris anderson, Moses Freeman, and Chip Henderson voted in favor of the animal control ordinance, allowing urban chickens.

Russell Gilbert, Ken Smith, Larry Grohn, Carol Berz, Yusuf Hakeem, and Jerry Mitchell voted no.

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