the state

– of chickens in council. by vastate
Friday, 8 May 2009, 22:43
Filed under: -of green, -of harrisonburg, -of jhumphrey

here’s an update on recent harrisonburg backyard chicken project activities.  this group has been working hard for the legalization of urban fowl…

chicken sign

After Tuesday’s council meeting, we are feeling pretty relieved to have made it through the first hoop and have the city begin looking into the specifics of potential changes. On the 28th council decided to refer the issue to planning commission for further review. Mayor Degner explained the decision in depth on his blog.

It was great to see so many people come out to show their support. We nearly filled the council chambers (there were surely 30 or 40 supporters present…including one dressed as a chicken)!

From here, the Harrisonburg Backyard Chicken Project will do its best to provide city staff with helpful information relating to the ordinance changes other cities have enacted regarding the keeping of hens. On the road ahead, it will be vital for those who support the allowance of backyard chickens to continue to directly voice their support to city staff (as they are already receiving calls and emails from many with nothing but critiques and concern about this project). Council member emails are found [here.] Planning Commission will look at this issue for the first time at their Tuesday, May 12 meeting.

We are also excited to continue the urban chicken keeping conversation with more folks in our community. There are many voices who are uncertain, wary, or even outright opposed to this idea and it would be great to hear and engage their concerns. There is a lot of work to be done yet, but there is a lot of energy and passionate support behind this movement!

Thanks for your interest.

Peace be with you,
Nicholas Detweiler-Stoddard
Harrisonburg Backyard Chicken Project participant


nicholas also cited these guiding principals for developing an ordinance:

It recognizes the importance of the ordinance being clearly stated and easily accessible to the public, which will help ensure compliance and reduce violations.

It satisfies the needs of most stakeholder groups and acknowledges that some stakeholders on both sides of the issue will be unwilling to compromise.

It does not discriminate against certain populations, such as those of lower incomes who can not afford high permitting fees, or those with smaller property sizes.

It allows for flexibility and provides choice, such as giving chicken keepers the right to choose their own coop design and building materials.

It allows for citizen input and participation in the ordinance forming process to assure that the ordinance fits the needs of, and is supported by the community.

It recognizes the role chickens can play in developing a more sustainable urban environment

so now, i am personally seeing visions of this:


or maybe this:


or, probably, more like this:


check out more exciting chicken housing here.  your fowl rock, austin, tx:



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