Council moving to allow backyard fowl, with exceptions

Thursday, August 27, 2009 at 6:59pm

The surprise hot-button topic on Metro Council this year has been the issue of allowing residents to keep chickens in their backyards in residential areas.

On the heels of a zoning bill that would have outlawed chickens, Council will consider at its Tuesday meeting a bill that would allow backyard chickens, with exceptions, in residential areas.

“It’s a matter of people being good neighbors, respecting the community, but it’s also a matter of letting people be able to own chickens if they want for healthy food reasons, as long as they’re respectful,” said District 18 Metro Councilwoman Kristine LaLonde, the co-sponsor of the bill on second reading at Tuesday’s meeting.

District 13 Councilman Carl Burch initially filed a bill that cleared up a quirk in the zoning code. According to a ruling by the Board of Zoning Appeals earlier this year, backyard chickens are allowed provided they do not become a nuisance.

The new bill filed by LaLonde and District 24 Councilman Jason Holleman would allow chickens in residential areas with the following exceptions:

— No roosters would be allowed;

— Chickens must be kept in a predator-proof enclosure that is at least 25 feet away from any residence and 10 feet away from property line;

— No slaughtering of chickens would be permitted and no breeding would be permitted.

“I think the issue was the law was just unclear and this, hopefully, clears it up,” LaLonde said.

Chickens would not be allowed on parcels with less than 3,750 square feet.

The bill filed by Burch would clearly outlaw cows, donkeys, ducks, geese, goats, horses, mules, peafowl, pigs and sheep from the downtown urban services district.

Council members say they have heard from dozens of constituents on both sides the issue of allowing backyard chickens.

In the last year, cities like New York, Chicago, Cleveland and Seattle have moved to allow and regulate backyard chickens.

9 Comments on this post:

By: house_of_pain on 8/28/09 at 6:19

Metro Council: Putting the "yard" in "yardbird".

By: danced with angus on 8/28/09 at 6:54

This is great news. Sorry to deprive the hens of a good looking rooster to strut for, tho.
Now if Nashville will just PLEASE allow wine to be sold in grocery stores we will really be making progress.
I'll need a good white wine to help me build my chicken run.

By: bfra on 8/28/09 at 7:06

Time to rename Nashville! Suggestions: Shack Town, Coopville, or maybe Leanto City. Also, Fabreeze should get busy making outdoor bombs that cover a large area. Most farmers, never have a chicken coop or yard anywhere near their home.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 8/28/09 at 7:45

oh for cryin' out loud, i can't believe this! for all the codes issues we've tried to address in my neighborhood, this is a HUGE step backwards. thanks for nothing, council!

By: bfra on 8/28/09 at 8:13

To top it all, Codes doesn't even enforce the laws already in force.

By: negurl on 8/28/09 at 12:03

....but it’s also a matter of letting people be able to own chickens if they want for healthy food reasons, as long as they’re respectful..

Which one? The chickens or the people? And if a person is keeping chickens for healthy food reasons...

— No slaughtering of chickens would be permitted and no breeding would be permitted.

Uhmmm- seems counterintuitive, unless the chickens are being hired as dieticians.

By: firstmagnitude on 8/28/09 at 12:53

Metro council should re-introduce the bill for placing a UFO landing pad in Nashville, along with the chicken bill, so that they can "kill two birds with one stone!" That UFO proposal was introduced some fifteen to twenty years ago. This type of legislation has the same smell as the state bill allowing people to pick-up road kill from off the road -- you know, the one that makes it legal to pick up that dead possum and whatever else dead for that matter.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 8/28/09 at 2:50

Robot Chicken.

By: Pmd12931 on 9/2/09 at 2:25

Please let us know who voted for and against this bill! That is those council members too "chicken" to allow someone the privilege of using their own property that they pay taxes on to use in a way beneficial to them, and we always had a few chickens in our yard to supply us and others with brown eggs. God bless the memory of my Daddy who loved his chickens and is turning over in his grave at the thought of not being able to have his chickens.