Chickens could roost on small Dorchester properties
ST. GEORGE — Chickens might just rule the day in Dorchester County after all.
Proposed Dorchester County rules on owning chickens or rabbits:
No more than 10 hens and/or rabbits.
Minimum 7,500 square feet of property.
Not allowed where homeowners associations prohibit.
Two more votes and public hearing required.
County Council on Monday approved a preliminary vote to repeal a 2010 law restricting keeping hens or rabbits to properties of 1 acre or more and replace it with a law that would open keeping 10 hens or rabbits to smaller residential lots of 7,500 square feet or more.
The vote was unanimous. If the change is approved in two following votes, it would become law.
Councilman George Bailey — who was not on council for the controversy surrounding the first law — couldn’t help but grin.
“I never chuckled so hard in my life. I’m glad to see the chickens have come home to roost,” he said before calling for the vote.
Councilman David Chinnis, who proposed the change, said the hen-keeping wouldn’t be allowed in subdivisions where homeowners’ rules oppose it.
He said earlier that nuisance laws can be enforced if the hen-keeping becomes a health problem or something else.
Samm Creech, who lives in Greenhurst subdivision outside Summerville, was one of three residents who spoke in support of the law. A complaint about a dozen or so hens she keeps led to a codes violation, and spurred her to contact Chinnis.
Creech told council that she had the names of 31 neighbors on a petition supporting her hen-keeping.
Creech, who has a one-third-acre lot, would be allowed to keep the hens under the new law.
The 2010 law stemmed from a dispute over a resident who kept six hens in pens in a countryside neighborhood in Oakbrook.
Controversy then rose over whether an acre was large enough.
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