Monday, September 14, 2009

Update on easing restrictions on raising chickens in New Castle County

I have received an e-mail last week from Nellie Manlove who is Council member Tansey's legislative aide, that the ordinance to ease restrictions on raising chickens in New Castle County will be discussed (.pdf agenda) at the Council's Land Use Committee meeting on Tuesday 9/15 at 3:00pm. This is open to the public and public comment is encouraged. It takes place in the 8th floor Council Conference Room of the City/County Building, 800 N French Street, Wilmington, 19801.

I expect to attend the Land Use Committee meeting tomorrow at 3pm, though I am not sure what to say or what is expected. I certainly can speak in support of the change to the ordinance. My concern is that I am not a Land Use professional so I am not sure what the objections to the change in the amendment are.

I stand by my earlier comments that the county ordinances already allow chickens (and other farm animals) on parcels of greater than one acre, and that this easing of the restriction is a small change addressed primarily at raising hens.

From a common sense perspective it seems that the council members might need to know the following to be swayed to adopt the easing of the restrictions to allow raising up to 4 hens (no roosters) on parcels of at least one acre no nearer than 25ft to property lines in New Castle County.

1.) Why was the first restriction against farm animals on parcels smaller than one acre first enacted.

2.) Is there a reason we cannot just discuss chickens (really just hens) and not open up the discussion to all farm animals.

3.) How many parcels in New castle County are one acre or more and could have chickens right now, and how many do have chickens right now. How many are a half acre or more, or would be added to the parcels allowed to have chickens? This would help us know the scope of the change and its effect. I suspect that there though there are probably a lot of parcels with 0.5 acre or more, we should consider only those that will be added as the change, and how many of those really have people that would want to raise hens. That is the new set of hens that anyone could raise an objection to.

4.) Are there other concerns. Health concerns, noise concerns, nuisance concerns, and doesn't New Castle County already have regulations for those. Thus should anyone who raises chickens and causes these issues can be addressed through existing ordinances.

5.) How many other counties or similar sized municipalities in the country have similar restrictions or ordinances? Is there something we can learn from them?

The ordinance should then come up for a vote at the 9/22 Council meeting, which takes place at 7:00pm in the 1st Floor Council Chambers, also in the City/County Building.

What do you say in support of an ordinance at a Council Land Use Committee meeting? Anybody gave any suggestions?


Matt said...

I can't attend the meeting tomorrow, but if you're polling for support: my wife and I just bought 7/10 of an acre (with a house) in North Wilmington. We don't have any intention of raising any hens (our cats would have fits), but fully support anybody that wants to, insofar as they obey all other nuisance regulations.

I guess I just like chickens.

Richard said...

Thanks for the support, Matt. If you feel strongly enough that the easing of the restrictions is a good idea then you could send an e-mail of support to your new New Castle County council representative listed in the earlier post or on the country council website.

Anonymous said...

Noone wants shitty chickens raised next to their house. An acre seems like a reasonable amount of space. Anything less would be pushing it with the neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Get a life

Howard said...

You might be interested in tonight's On Point: