Friday, February 3, 2012

Spring Chickens

Call me a flip-flopper if you want, but I have changed my mind regarding chickens in Cary.

It has nothing to do with “sustainability” or many of the “green” arguments chicken proponents point to – it has everything to do with freedom.

As a Cary councilman and active member of a number of business and community associations I have worked hard to reduce or eliminate overburdensome and unfair government regulations. I am sick of government (especially the idiots in Washington) poking their noses into every facet of our lives. My position on chickens was in conflict with this.

People should have the right to do as they wish as long as their decisions do not negatively impact the health and well-being of others. Just because I do not like something doesn’t give me the right to keep you from doing it.

So we are clear - I do not want chickens. I really hope my neighbors do not get chickens. But if they do, who in the hell am I to say “no”? Just make sure you keep those things closer to your house than mine, and if your chicken flies into my yard and my dog eats your chicken, that’s on you.

Mayor Pro-Tem Gale Adcock and I have placed the following request on council’s February 9, 2012 meeting agenda:

Council initiated request to amend Cary’s ordinance to allow for the keeping of backyard hens.

Mayor Pro Tem Adcock and I are requesting council consideration of a request to direct staff to amend town code to allow for the keeping of backyard hens with the following conditions:

• This amendment applies to single family detached homes only

• No Roosters

• No backyard slaughter

• Chickens may be kept for personal use only – no raising chickens for re-sale

• A maximum of eight (8) chickens allowed per property

• Recommend an annual license fee of $10.00 total (not per chicken)

• No free range. Chickens are to remain in the chicken coup, run or fenced in yard when unsupervised. May be allowed in front yard with supervision.

• Delay the implementation of the proposed ordinance amendment for 3 months to allow HOA’s the opportunity to address this issue if they so desire.

• Chicken Coup: Chickens must be provided a covered, predator resistant housing structure that is designed in such a way that allows for ventilation, ease of cleaning and provides a minimum of two square feet per chicken. The coup should be held to standards similar to what we require for storage sheds and give the appearance of professional design and construction

• Apply appropriate set-back requirements. Understanding that every lot is different, we are looking for staff guidance on how to best protect neighbors by ensuring that the chicken coup is located closer to the chicken owner’s home than their neighbor’s.

• Allows for folks to compost hen’s fecal matter – current ordinance prohibits composting fecal matter of “household pets”. Clarify chicken/hens NOT a household pet if necessary.

“Assuming” that those council members who supported allowing chickens in Cary the last time this was discussed still do, this initiative will pass.

There is no need for more information – this issue has been studied to death. I know more about chickens than I ever cared to. Let’s just get this done and behind us. We have way more important things to focus on.

So like I said, call me a flip-flopper. I don't care. I can admit when I am wrong. What's your excuse? ;-)

Now all this talk of chickens has made me hungry. KFC anyone?