Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Meet the Chicken Man of Chester, SC

The Herald Online has a nice little story about Stephen Hunter's efforts to keep chickens within the city limits of Chester, South Carolina, a small town of about 6,000 people in the north central part of the state (see a bigger map)

The ordinance in question (note: I'm still trying to find the exact ordinance) seems to treat all "livestock" the same in banning it from city limits: doesn't matter if the livestock is a horse a cow a pig or a chicken. They're all banned by law.

Hunter is asking city leaders to change this law ,passed in 1995, to accommodate his small flock of 23 Barred Rock (like Sophia and ZsuZsu!) hens which "he keeps inside a renovated henhouse behind his 19th-century Victorian, the fourth house on the left past City Hall." (talk about urban chickens!)

From the sounds of it, Hunter's got a strong case to support the ordinance change:
  • He lives on a 2-acre lot and restored the 19th Century Victorian and its outbuildings (including the hen house)
  • The Barred Rocks are the same type of chickens that were historically raised on the property
  • Most of the 15 eggs he gets from the chickens each day are donated to a children's home in Rock Hill.
Couldn't ask for a better test case, no?

Hunter says, "People are really coming out about it. They're becoming more active and concerned. And I really like that. I think, if for no other reason, this gives people something positive to talk about for Chester."

The Council is set to vote next Tuesday evening (March 4) to decide whether to look into changing the ordinance or leaving it alone. I look forward to reporting on Hunter's success next week in getting the Council to re-examine the issue.

Go Stephen!

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