A divided Board of Commissioners OK'd a code change that allows residents who want to have hens on fewer than 2 acres to apply for a $150 variance with the county's Board of Zoning Appeals. If the zoning board rejects the request, it stops there and the alternative is to appeal to the Cobb Superior Court. If the zoning board grants the request, it must be ratified by the Board of Commissioners.
After being cited by code enforcement, Pond was given the option of getting rid of his hens, applying for a variance or appealing to Cobb Superior Court. That's when he formed the Backyard Chicken Alliance to try to change the county code banning chickens on lots smaller than 2 acres. But the Board of Zoning Appeals denied his variance request.
Speaking to the board in favor of backyard chickens, Ray Palermo of east Cobb said he didn't see what all the fuss was about.
to? No. But I was very impressed with Commissioner (Bob) Ott's statements that this is a beginning."
Pond filed an ethics complaint against Birrell, claiming she violated the county's ethics code by failing to show impartiality on the variance case, although the county's seven member ethics board cleared Birrell of the charge in a unanimous vote in December.
bird flu, also known as avian influenza, has never been diagnosed in North America," Levine said.
"You can go to the tony neighborhoods of Atlanta, be it Druid Hills, Buckhead, the Emory area, and there's literally chickens running around in people's backyards," Palermo said. "No one has to regulate them. They seem to get along. My daughter lives there. She has chickens next door to her. She doesn't choose to raise chickens but her neighbor gives her eggs. I can't believe that we're even having this discussion over chickens."
"As Carole told me, she called her 'good friend the commissioner' to inquire about their legality because she was concerned that they were going to ruin her property value," Pond said.
The board voted 3 2 in favor of chickens, with county chairman Tim Lee and commissioner JoAnn Birrell opposed. Chickens got a thumbs up from commissioners Helen Goreham, Lisa Cupid and Ott.
Lee takes stand against chickens
That translates to four hens on a half acre lot. Even a subdivision dweller on a tiny lot of 0.25 to 0.33 acres could theoretically raise two birds.
County development director Rob Hosack said the variance lasts for two years before the resident must renew. It allows one hen per 5,000 square feet. Roosters are not permitted.
Dogs and cats carry more risk
Kell, a prominent member of the community whose late husband is the namesake of Kell High School and whose son is Cobb Superior Court Judge Tain Kell, declined to comment for this article.
On Tuesday night, residents packed the Board of Commissioners' meeting room, many wearing yellow shirts in support of the code change.
East Cobb's Joseph Pond, who led the charge to allow suburbanites to raise chickens on small residential lots, was flying high Wednesday in the upper atmosphere of a political victory. But he stopped short of gloating.
Veterinarian Mitzi Levine of east Cobb brought up a comment commissioners made at a previous meeting about missing the public hearing on account of bird flu.
An appeal to Cobb Superior Court was also rejected.
Hosack said it makes sense to consider reducing the application fee upon renewal of the variance, which is something his staff will consider.
"The way the code was written and as policy for the BZA, they say they don't issue variances in cases of animals because they were under the opinion that it would circumvent the code," Pond said.
"The weekend after Thanksgiving 2011, I had to remove the birds from my property," Pond said.
"I believe that if we adopt this ordinance it would be an open door to a slope that would find Air Max Rainbow this board considering almost every other kind of animal imaginable," he said.
"If you have an acre of land, you could probably have eight birds," Hosack said.
Levine said while cats, the most popular household pet, have 26 diseases that can infect humans and dogs have 36 transmissible diseases, that doesn't prevent people from having them as pets.
attached because most we had raised from baby chicks," he said. "It was horrible. I cried my eyes out all the way down to East Point."
Chicken advocate finally wins fight to keep his fowl
Bonding with birds
He dropped them off with an acquaintance in East Point.
"Did we get everything we wanted?" Pond said. "No. Did we expect Nike Air Max 95 Solar Red
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Pond said his chicken problem with the county began in the summer of 2011, when his neighbor, Carole Kell, who lives on a hill overlooking his backyard, complained to Commissioner JoAnn Birrell about his dozen pet hens he kept on his half acre.
In arguing against the code change, Lee said Cobb has gone too far down the road of urbanization to turn back now.
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