Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Chicken Manifesto

Last night, the City of Montgomery's Planning Commission considered what possible exemptions to Montgomery's proposed new "Ordinance Prohibiting Farm Animals" they would recommend to City Council.

We'd done quite a bit of research to try to demonstrate to the Planning Commission that it was absolutely possible to allow chickens without causing a nuisance. Last week, we finished work on a document called "Chickens for Montgomery" and gave copies of it to City Hall to distribute to the Planning Commission and City Council.

I am happy to report that the Planning Commission voted 5 - 1 (one member of the 7-member commission was not in attendance) to recommend the zoning/land use codes be revised to allow up to 6 chickens, no roosters, with chickens required to be contained and enclosures required to be no closer than 15 feet to property lines. We feel this is a very fair outcome, and provides an excellent basis for allowing Montgomery residents to keep chickens while still addressing possible concerns from the rest of the community.

We aren't sure how likely City Council is to accept this recommendation. They have no requirement to do so, I don't think, so we do still need to show them there's support for this. But I am feeling very positive, and very grateful to the Planning Commission for taking what I think is an extremely open-minded approach to the question. I'm sure most of them probably originally thought, when City Council first asked them to consider this issue, that of course Montgomery wouldn't want to allow chickens. But they really listened to us, and last night spent a very long time discussing what additional restrictions might be needed and which possible issues could be addressed by current ordinances regarding noise, odors, setbacks, etc. They asked questions, and they were very fair in considering our responses. For instance, their initial idea for limiting the number of chickens was 4, but when we told them that most day-old chicks could only be sold in quantities of six, they changed their motion to allow up to 6 chickens.

The document -- which my husband is calling my 'Chicken Manifesto' -- is unfortunately at 12MB too large to be uploaded to any free file-sharing sites, but I've got it in both a .pdf file and a Word 2008 file, so if anyone wants a copy, please email me and tell me which version you'd like me to email you. (If you don't have Word 2008, I'd recommend asking for the .pdf file, as converting it to Word 2004 causes significant formatting changes which make the document much less usable.)

And if anyone has server space and would like to host this document so that it can be downloaded and used as a template by other chicken-keeping groups trying to change their town's laws, let me know! Anyone interested in using it for their own efforts on behalf of chicken-keepers should feel free to do so with my blessing. My sincere thanks to Chickens In The Yard, whose own similar document provided a template from which to work.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations!! Your efforts are truly appreciated. I was looking at a house to buy in Anderson and the owner was very interested in us talking us up quite a bit for a long time UNTIL I asked if she knew if I could have chickens. Her face completely changed and her comments were short, no chatting up after that. She completely put us off!! I'm happy that you were able to educate the city council.

valereee said...

Wow, you'd think someone who wanted to sell their house in this market would be less picky! :)

CityKin said...

Great work Valereee.

Mercin said...

Thank you Val.
I've posted links for your work of art:
Word 2008 DOC

Anonymous said...

I believe you can post that document on SCRIBD for free


valereee said...

Thanks, Michael and Jim!

Wow, that Scribd site is great!

Po said...


Just stumbled across your blog. Love it.

Have you had a look at www.ooooby.org yet?

Lots of people there who would appreciate what you have to say. Over 1000 food gardeners and locavores networking together.

Ooooby is an acronym for Out of our own back yards.

Hope you like it.


Anonymous said...

Dominoes Techno Chicken