Lexington County officials are starting to look at rules to rein in keeping backyard chickens in suburban neighborhoods.
Chickens are allowed now in areas outside cities and towns. But some folks are complaining that the lack of controls is breeding sanitation problems.
No proposal is imminent, but the idea is being explored.
“You do have to have a few basic rules to live by” in areas where neighbors are close to each other, County Council Chairman Todd Cullum of Cayce said.
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Any regulations would be added to anti-blight requirements for neighborhoods in unincorporated areas mostly east of I-20, north of Lake Murray and the lower Saluda River, Red Bank and Dixiana.
Guidelines under consideration for keeping chickens at homes are similar to those already adopted in four municipalities in the county:
▪ A maximum four hens are allowed, with no roosters.
▪ Coops and runs must be enclosed, screened and located in backyards.
▪ Odor controls must be in place.
Backyard chickens are allowed in Cayce, Lexington, Springdale and West Columbia; Irmo has balked at the idea.
Developing guidelines for keeping chickens at home in areas under county oversight awaits recommendations from the Planning Commission.
Any guidelines adopted won’t apply to the largely rural southern and western sides of the 758-square-mile county, or to chicken farms that are a prime industry in those areas.
Restricting chickens in many neighborhoods is an idea whose time has come, Councilman Phil Yarborough of Irmo said.
“We don’t want to affect that (rural areas), but it should be different in highly populated areas,” he said.
Tim Flach: 803-771-8483