Metro Council to consider extending backyard chickens ordinance - - The News for South Mississippi

Metro Council to consider extending backyard chickens ordinance


Metro Council is gearing up to take on another chicken fight. Council members will make a final decision Tuesday on whether to allow hens in the backyards of homes across the city.

Terry Kevlin was one of the first Nashvillians to get a hen permit two years ago when Metro passed legislation to allow people living in residential zoning districts to keep small numbers of the birds.

She says her hens help compost her garden, and she shares their eggs with her neighbors.

"I've not had anyone complain whatsoever," Kevlin said.

The legislation that passed in 2012 came with a two-year expiration because of skepticism hens could be noisy, smelly and cause problems in neighborhoods.

Now, the council will vote on whether or not to make the hen legislation permanent. And if it does pass, it will apply in all Metro districts, including the eight districts which opted out of the 2012 ordinance.

"I think it's unfair to their constituency. There are many people that want hens," said Metro Councilwoman Karen Bennett.

Bennett, of the 8th district, sponsored the hen law and drafted the new bill to extend it, but several council members in the opt-out districts still don't want hens.

"This is a council member who's trying to cram an issue down our throats. I'll fight it, and I'll continue to fight it," said Metro Councilman Steve Glover.

Glover, of the 12th district, says the hen law would cause big problems for homeowners' associations.

"The HOAs simply don't want to fight an issue they shouldn't have to fight. The majority of HOAs in my district have said 'no,' so I'm voting with them," Glover said.

Bennett argues HOA policy will precede the law.

But, for hens to live in backyards all across Metro, she'll need 21 votes.

Since the 2012 hen ordinance took effect, 245 Metro residents have applied for chicken permits, and there have been 145 chicken complaints filed. That is compared to some 23,000 dog complaints in the same time period.

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