Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Initial Victory 4 Chesapeake Hens

There's been a lot of excitement around here! Our group, 4 Chesapeake Hens, has been trying to change the zoning laws in Chesapeake to allow more residents to have backyard laying hens. On Tuesday, Councilman Robert Ike presented a resolution asking that the "hen issue" be referred to the Planning Commission. This was the first time our concerns have been an actual agenda item. Our group showed up in red T-shirts to show our support. All-told we probably had close to thirty supporters there:

4 Chesapeake Hens at City Council
Several members of our group spoke in favor of the resolution, as did one other resident. If you'd like to watch the speeches, go to this video and forward to about 2:09. I presented our online and handwritten petitions and our suggestions for a zoning ordinance, which I forgot to mention in my speech! We modified them from a proposed ordinance we found online that I later learned was adopted by Amherst, Massachusetts.

Ike's resolution was adopted, with the lone "no" vote coming from Vice Mayor John de Triquet. Next the  the Planning Commission will study whether changes should be made to the zoning laws regarding chickens.

We feel excited about it. We're making progress.

Now we are figuring out what to do next to keep the momentum going. Pat Foreman, the author of City Chicks, has offered to help us. Among other things, she is willing to make Chesapeake a stop on her next East Coast Book Tour. We will be happy to work with her!

Update: On November 20, Chesapeake City Council voted 6-3 to allow hens with certain restriction in residential areas.

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