A request from some residents for the go-ahead to keep up to four chickens at home didn’t take off in Irmo Tuesday.
Town Council members split over a proposal that would allow a one-year test to see if concerns about noise and odor have merit.
Supporters of the idea promised to press for approval amid concern about some requirements under consideration for keeping hens.
The fees and construction standards for coops housing the birds would make it too costly, they said.
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“I’m not happy with some of the rules,” said Tony Oravec, a spokesman for Hens for Irmo. “They’re trying to make it expensive.”
Only a few passionate homeowners would undertake a hobby that seems “an expensive ordeal,” Councilman Mark Pouliot agreed.
Town Council deadlocked on the the plan amid complaints that fowls belong on farms, not in neighborhoods in the community of 12,000 residents.
“If people want to be farmers, there’s plenty of open space out of town,” resident Elmer Danko told council members.
The plan would allow up to four hens in enclosed coops, with roosters banned.
Mayor Hardy King said the one-year test “would give it a shot and see” what problems, if any, develop.
Keeping a few hens gives families a connection to farming as well as providing eggs for meals and compost for gardens, supporters say.
Irmo is the last hold-out among major Midlands municipalities to the idea. Keeping a few hens is allowed in nearby communities such as Columbia, Chapin, Lexington, Cayce and West Columbia.
It’s unclear how many homeowners in Irmo will be able to keep chickens since development restrictions ban the birds in several neighborhoods, officials say.
Tim Flach: 803-771-8483