Should your neighbors be able to raise chickens? City officials in Dunwoody are going to take up the question at Wednesday's meeting of the Dunwoody Planning Commission.
The issue has been raised in a number of metro Atlanta suburbs over the past several years, most notably in Roswell, where one resident ended up in court over his right to raise chicken in his back yard.
City council members discussed the matter at a recent council retreat, and decided to raise the matter once again, after it had been brought before the council and defeated in 2009 and 2010, according to Steve Foote with Dunwoody Community Development.
The new proposed city amendment would allow residents to keep chickens on their property, but prevent neighbors from being subjected to "unnecessary noise, odor and the invitation of rodents, wild birds and predatory animals."
Residents would have to get zoning approval before obtaining their chickens, and they would be limited to female chickens -- hens -- only. No roosters, crowing hens, ducks, geese, turkeys, or other poultry or fowl would be permitted.
Chicken coops would have been kept in the rear yard of the property in a specified coop, and they'd have to be kept in the coop area or in an enclosed pen adjacent to the coop.
The amendment specifies the size of the coop itself, as well as the amount of space needed for a chicken run in and around the chicken coop.
Chickens could only be kept for personal use only -- sales of chickens, eggs or chicken manure, or the breeding of chickens for any commercial purpose would be prohibited. Chickens could not be slaughtered on the premises.
Finally, the number of chickens would be limited by the size of a resident's property -- lots of between 10,000 and 15,000 square feet would only be able to have up to six chickens. Those between 15,001 square feet and one acre would be able to have up to eight chickens, and those with land exceeding an acre would be able to have up to eight chickens per acre of lot size, "or fraction thereof."
Those with lots under 10,000 square feet would be prohibited from keeping chickens.
Foote said the new amendment was based on the failed 2010 measure with some adjusted language. The amendment grants the city authorization for code enforcement officers to investigate any chicken-related complaints at any point.
If the Planning Commission approves the draft amendment at Wednesday night's meeting, the draft will go before the full city council at a subsequent meeting.