No backyard chickens for Concord
1:00 pm
Fri September 11, 2009

No backyard chickens for Concord

Keeping chickens as pets is a nationwide trend, and many major cities, including Charlotte, have changed their laws to accommodate backyard coops. But the City of Concord last night cried foul, voting to keep the chicken craze at bay. WFAE's Julie Rose reports:

About 65 Concord residents created a Facebook page and spent the last six months trying to convince city officials to let them farm chickens in their backyards.

Current city law prohibits livestock in areas zoned for single families. The chicken amendment would have limited families to six hens for personal egg production only. Roosters would never be allowed and chicken coops would have to meet a strict set of standards.

After a brief public hearing, the Concord City Council rejected the proposal on a vote of 3 to 2, much to the dismay of Tanya Koenig who moved to Concord in 2007.

"They're not being progressive with their thinking," said Koenig. "They're not being supportive of the local food movement. So we feel like there's an underlying racism. They've made comments about other cultures before. So we really feel like it's about other cultures that they won't approve this amendment."

At the Concord hearing last night, Kay Raiford was the only person to speak against the amendment. She says she lived in a Florida neighborhood where backyard chickens were noisy, messy and unbecoming of a "first-world" country.

"Nor do I think that we should use tax dollars to have somebody - a government employee - monitor this," said Raiford. "It's a waste of tax dollars and basically it leads to a lower quality of life."

The issue has been a divisive one in many cities, including Charlotte, which last year passed an ordinance to allow chickens in residential areas, although neighborhood covenant restrictions generally take precedence.

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