Cities across the country — from New York to Seattle to Davenport, Iowa — have made efforts to allow urban residents to own backyard chickens as part of the booming urban farming movement.
Nashville won’t soon be joining that list. A bill to allow backyard chickens with exceptions failed on second reading at Tuesday’s Metro Council meeting.
The legislation, sponsored by councilmembers Jason Holleman and Kristine Lalonde, was defeated with a 20-15 vote.
The bill would have allowed chickens, but put restrictions on owners, including a ban on roosters, a minimum setback from neighboring property lines in addition to limiting the number of poultry a property owner could keep.
A bill sponsored by Councilman Carl Burch, which specifically banned backyard chickens and other domesticated farm animals, passed second reading. The Holleman-LaLonde bill would have allowed backyard chickens inside the urban services district with restrictions.
“I do believe in my heart we don’t need to have poultry in the urban services district,” Burch said.
Holleman argued that his bill put more restrictions on chicken owners than mandated in other cities, like New York and Chicago, where there are no limits on the number of backyard chickens.
The failed bill would have essentially allowed chickens as pets and as egg producers. The urban farming movement, which has become popular nationally in recent years, supports using chickens to produce eggs.
“This bill is far more restrictive and far more considerate of neighbors rights,” Holleman said, comparing his proposed legislation to that other cities have passed.
Should Burch’s legislation pass third reading as expected, it would become a codes violation to own chickens and owners would be subject to a $50 citation in addition to being forced to get rid of their chickens.
The bill does not apply to agricultural districts in Davidson County.
McGuire elected president pro tempore
District 25 Councilman Sean McGuire was elected Council president pro tempore at Tuesday’s meeting, beating out fellow first-term Council member Erica Gilmore.
McGuire won the election with a 22-9 vote on Council. McGuire becomes the prospective replacement for Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors and has the role of running Metro Council announcements.