IOP City Council committee hears request for backyard chickens

— The clucking of hens could become part of the soundscape here if City Council sees fit to lift a ban on the keeping of fowl.

Nadine Deif, a resident who lives on Hartnett Boulevard, is asking elected officials for permission to have a backyard chicken coop.

“It’s just so I can have the eggs. So many towns have allowed this across the country,” she said.

Deif would like to have six or seven chickens.

“The neighbors don’t care,” she said.

For her, fresh eggs are best.

“They really do taste so much better. They are so much healthier,” she said.

The issue of whether to allow “chickens as pets” is on the agenda for the 5 p.m. meeting today of the City Council Public Safety Committee.

“It very much would be a precedent,” said Councilman Marty Bettelli, committee chairman.

“The devil is in the details,” he said.

Bettelli said he has mixed feelings on the issue because he grew up on a small farm, but he wants to maintain the residential character of the island.

Resident Tami Enright believes chickens are a good fit for IOP.

“I think if it passed. everybody would jump on the bandwagon,” she said.

Enright said she had four hens until one got loose, a neighbor complained and she received a citation. She was given two weeks to find another home for the birds. They went to a friend in the Old Village of Mount Pleasant, she said.

The town of Mount Pleasant allows chickens if they are not a nuisance to nearby residents and the birds are not living in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions.

If approved, the IOP chicken law change would require amending a one-sentence section of the city code that bars keeping of domesticated fowl.

In other parts of the country, municipalities are dealing with people who want to keep chickens.

Tracy Gugal-Okroy calls herself the Virginia Beach Chicken Outlaw because of her differences with the city over whether she can keep backyard fowl, according to news reports.

Across Breach Inlet on Sullivan’s Island, the law governing animals does not mention chickens, but it does say that taking eggs from birds is not allowed except for domestic fowl.

Apparently, though, chickens are a minor issue on Sullivan’s, where the law bans keeping of apes, chimpanzees, gibbons, gorillas, orangutans, baboons, bison, rhinoceroses and piranhas unless they are part of a zoo, circus or other accredited organization approved by Town Council.



Reach Prentiss Findlay at 937-5711

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