As regular readers know, I belong to a grass-roots movement that worked to get Chesapeake, Virginia, to allow laying hens on all single-family residential lots. City Council voted a 1-year sunset clause on the law, which means that our right to keep up to six laying hens in our backyards, with certain restrictions, will disappear next year unless City Council votes by December 20 to keep the law . Our group is waiting to hear from Robert Ike, the City Councilman who is most in our corner, about the date when this vote will take place.
In the meantime we are asking Chesapeake's legal, residential chicken-keepers to collect letters from local friends and neighbors in support of making the "hen law" permanent. Letters should focus on the fact that the hens are having a positive impact in the neighborhood. And they should explain how or why this is so. To have any impact on Council, the letters must be signed and dated and include contact information in the letterhead. At a minimum, the letters should contain the Chesapeake address where the neighbor lives, but email and phone numbers are welcome, too, in case Council members want to follow up with questions. Supportive letters from Chesapeake businesses, churches, civic leagues, neighborhood watches, or other groups are also welcome.
Residential hen-keepers: we need you to ask for and collect these letters of support and to deliver them to either Wendy Camacho or Mary Lou Burke by the Friday before Thanksgiving, Friday, November 22, 2013. We will copy them, collate them, and make sure they are delivered to City Council sometime before the actual vote. Let's be like the "Little Red Hen" in the famous children's story, and all work together to make this fantastic new law a permanent one!
Mail letters to:
Mary Lou Burke
945 Hollywood Dr
Chesapeake, VA 23320
If you have questions, post them under "comments" here or, even better, post them on our Facebook fan page, 4 Chesapeake Hens.
Update on 11/4: hens are on the agenda for November 26, 2013. Hopefully we'll get the vote we need then.
Update: On November 26, 2013, Chesapeake City Council voted to make the "hen ordinance" permanent. The meeting may be viewed online: fast forward to 1:19 to see some great pro-chicken speeches and the City Council's reaction.