Even though hundreds of Nashville residents already own chickens as pets and egg producers, a bill on third reading at tonight’s Metro Council meeting would prohibit backyard chickens in the urban services district.
The bill was introduced by District 14 Councilman Carl Burch to close a loophole in the zoning code, which left it unclear whether backyard chickens were allowed or not. The urban services district encompasses the city’s urban core in addition to other urban areas of the county like Antioch.
“I firmly believe chickens have no place in the urban services district,” Burch said.
The question about backyard chickens arose when a constituent of Burch’s won a case before the Board of Zoning Appeals. One part of the Metro code prohibited chickens in the urban services district, while another said a violation only occurred if the birds became a nuisance.
Burch’s bill clears the air by prohibiting farm animals in the urban services district.
A competing bill to allow backyard chickens by exception was defeated at public hearing at the Sept. 1 Council meeting.
Cities across the country have actually moved to allow and even encourage backyard chicken ownership as part of the urban farming movement, which supports organic eggs. New York, Chicago, Seattle and Cleveland are among the many cities to pass laws in recent months allowing backyard chickens.
As of Monday, there appeared to be a movement among some Council members to defeat Burch’s bill, thus keeping the status quo where backyard chickens are allowed unless they become a nuisance.
Check back following tonight’s Council meeting for an update.