West Columbia bans backyard chickens

tflach@thestate.comJuly 2, 2013 

THE STATE

— Chickens can’t come home to roost in West Columbia, even in limited numbers.

A divided City Council refused Tuesday to join other Midlands communities that allow homeowners to raise a few chickens for eggs in their backyards.

The proposal lost 4-4 – ties count as a defeat – amid concern that it would create tension among neighbors over noise and sanitation.

Some council members said caring for the birds is a messy nuisance.

“It’s more trouble than it’s worth,” Mayor Joe Owens said. “Their odor can be a bit overwhelming at times.”

Problems likely would be minimal, councilman B.J. Unthank said.

The requirements proposed are stringent and the handful of residents interested are “very conscientious” about doing it trouble-free, he said.

City planners suggested allowing a maximum of four hens with no roosters in enclosed coops.

Supporters of the proposal promise to keep trying to relax the city ban on livestock to permit the idea.

“There’s a demand for this,” councilwoman Casey Jordan Hallman said. “It’s something we’ll revisit.”

If authorized by city leaders, the step won’t be allowed everywhere in the city of 15,000 residents.

Some neighborhoods ban it while backyards in others lack enough space for coops, city planning director Brian Carter said.

Here is how council members voted:

FOR : Hallman, Unthank, Tommy Parler and Teddy Wingard

AGAINST: Owens, Eric Fowler, Dale Harley and Boyd Jones

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

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