Lexington town leaders took the first step Monday to make it easier for residents to raise a few chickens.
Town Council agreed to reduce significantly a requirement that chicken coops be at least 500 feet from a home.
“We want to relax that, although we don’t know how much yet,” Mayor Randy Halfacre said. “We need to decide what will work for our town culture.”
Council members will settle on the new limit next month after looking over suggestions.
Other Midlands communities generally require at least a 50-foot buffer from neighbors. Halfacre isn’t sure if a larger or smaller buffer than that is merited.
The current town buffer for fowls and other livestock is a remnant from the days when the steadily growing community of 18,000 residents was much smaller and more rural.
It probably makes it impossible for homeowners today to keep any chickens, town administrator Britt Poole told the seven council members.
No problems related to residential fowl-raising have been received in recent memory, officials said.
Halfacre urged a reduction in the buffer, saying raising chickens at home primarily for eggs is part of a movement promoting “green, natural and organic” food.
Nearby Columbia and Cayce recently agreed to allow homeowners to keep up to four hens, with a ban on roosters to prevent noise from becoming a nuisance. Irmo turned down the idea.
Standards are specified in communities allowing the practice for sanitation and waste disposal to reduce odor and pollution.
As with other pets, homeowners keeping the birds often are assessed a fee by other communities.
Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.