I belong to a grass-roots organization, 4 Chesapeake Hens, that is trying to change local zoning laws to allow more residents to keep micro-flocks of laying hens. At Chesapeake, Virginia's, last City Council Meeting, only one Council Member voted against Robert Ike's resolution to move the "hen issue" to the Planning Commission. That member was Dr. John De Triquet.
I took the liberty of emailing Dr. De Triquet regarding his rationale for the "no" vote. Here is his timely and well-considered response:
First let me compliment you and everyone who has addressed City Council
on this item. Everyone made their case with clarity, courtesy, and
civility. It was very refreshing since this is not always the
Let me address the issue at hand. I have always felt
that when folks choose to live in neighborhoods they have certain
expectations. Paramount in those expectations is that new activities
which may run counter to those expectations will be critically
considered before any changes are made. I think that before any changes
in allowable activities in residential neighborhoods are approved, there
should be a clear and overarching public need or interest.
been very consistent with this opinion over the years. I've not
supported allowing home beauty salons, lawn mower repair, and many other
activities in residential areas. In fact at the next Council Meeting a
request is being made to allow a home
salon in a residential area. I intend to vote against this request.
I hope this in some way explains my position. As I hope you can see it
really is not predicated on anything specific to a few hens in the back
yard. It is, however, based on my overall responsibility to preserve and
protect the expectations of homeowners in residential areas.
Having said this, should City Council approve your request I wish you
and all your friends the very best in this activity that I know you all
At least we understand his point of view now. I have posted my response to his letter in a follow-up post.
Update: On November 20, Chesapeake City Council voted 6-3 to allow hens with certain restriction in residential areas. De Triquet was one of the three Council members who voted against the ordinance. The others were Council Members West and Ritter.