Georgetown County looks to allow chickens in residential areas

Keri Moore, "Dolly"
Fourteen-year-old Keri Moore of Meridian, Miss., shows off "Dolly," a 17-week old rose comb brown leghorn hen, Friday, Sept. 18, 2015, that earned a grand champion place in the layers division and a first place in senior showmanship at the 4-H competition of the Lauderdale County Fair. Moore had hoped to bring six of her chickens to compete, but the state fair officials mindful of the deadly bird flu virus that devastated flocks in the Midwest, are limiting the contestants to a single bird for the showmanship and meat contests and are requiring the 200 expected exhibitors to use photo boards and record books to show off the flocks. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC (WBTW) – Georgetown County is considering changes to an ordinance that would allow chickens in residential neighborhoods.

The current ordinance allows chickens in areas zoned Forest and Agriculture and in residential areas classified as R-1AC; however, Planning Director Boyd Johnson says chickens are everywhere.

“I promise you, they’re chickens all over Georgetown County,” he stated.

Johnson says they only enforce the “no chickens” rule if someone complains, and that happens three to four times a year.

“We really don’t have the staff to go all over Georgetown County looking for chickens,” explained Johnson.

He says the most common complaint is noise.

“Obviously if you’ve got a rooster crowing and it’s waking somebody up at 4 o’clock in the morning, that’s not a good thing,” said Johnson.

Pawleys Island resident Shannon Davis owns 16 chickens, including three roosters.

“We love our chickens,” Davis said. “I mean, we just sit here. I call it poultry meditation.”

Davis says the best part about having backyard chickens is fresh eggs.

“Just being responsible for your own food, that’s plain and simple,” stated Davis.

Georgetown County Planning Commission will discuss changing the ordinance to allow two chickens per 10,000 square feet, which would shrink Davis’ flock from 16 to eight. Roosters are also prohibited and bird enclosures must be at least 100 feet away from the neighbor’s house.

In addition, all birds must be in an enclosure form which they cannot escape, and if a bird is slaughtered, it must be done in an enclosed structure. It’s not Davis’ ideal situation, but she says at least the backyard chicken movement wont have to hide anymore.

“Whatever ends up happening, we’ll follow it and re-home our roosters,” said Davis.

The Planning Commission will review the ordinance November 19, then it will move onto County Council for approval.


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