After a year and a half of debating, it looks like Floyd County will continue using special-use permits to regulate backyard chickens.
It’s only been in the last few years that county commissioners recommended putting concrete regulations in the Unified Land Development Code, the document that lists all of the zoning requirements for the county.
Commissioner Scotty Hancock wanted to make things easier on county residents who want to keep chickens for food or as pets. Amending the ULDC would have eliminated their need for a permit.
But, during their pre-meeting caucus Tuesday, commissioners talked about the wide variety of letters, emails and comments from the public they’ve received on the topic.
Some people feel that chickens shouldn’t be in suburban residential neighborhoods at all, while others feel that they can be there but only on larger properties.
Eventually, commissioners agreed that owning chickens and regulating them should be taken on a case-by-case basis. Ultimately, for subdivisions and suburban residential areas, the board agreed it should be handled by homeowners associations.
When it came time for a public hearing during the meeting, no one came forward in favor of the proposed amendment. Others who did show, eventually spoke against the amendment.
The commissioners unanimously voted to reject the amendment and said they’ll continue with their current special use permit policy.
Planning Director Artagus Newell said they will bring the amendment back to the planning commission for another recommendation, with the section concerning chickens removed.
Other provisions regulate grazing animals and wildlife zoos.
The planning department will start moving on from a focus on hobby farms to an overall update of the ULDC.
“We’re looking at trying to have some things in place to make things a little easier for folks, while still having a mechanism for a neighbor to have a say so,” Newell said.
Part of the revision includes taking out sections that are outdated, such as regulations on video rental stores and telegraph stations. The planning department will also be looking at adding sections to regulate home shares, such as Airbnbs.