Last night, Chesapeake City Council voted 6-3 to allow up to six laying hens, in a pen, on single-family lots in residential areas. This was the result of a lot of hard work and teamwork by a dedicated group of individuals dedicated to individual freedom, property rights, sustainability, and--yes!-- chickens!
There are two caveats: homeowners' association or property owners' association rules still supersede this law. And there was a "sunset clause" built into the legislation, so City Council will be asking for another Staff Report in about a year. The law could be undone if chickens at that point are causing major problems in the city.
But our research predicts this won't happen. We are happily resting up, making gardening plans, studying coop designs, and picking out chicken breeds.
Thanks to all those who supported 4 Chesapeake Hens in this historic effort. Click here if you'd like to watch my speech requesting the change.Click here if you want to watch the historic vote. Specific City Council Members' input will be posted as soon as available on YouTube. In the meantime, it is available on the City Council webpage under the November 20th agenda.
**Update: After seeing some posts on our Facebook page, let me add some further clarifications: the new law allows laying hens. Killing or processing one's chickens for meat is prohibited in residential areas. There are also setbacks for the coop from the property line. The text of the new law is available here, including the 1-year sunset clause on the changes.