Tyler Ames with the Holly Springs branch of the fowl alliance asked the City Council during its workshop Monday to consider changing the city’s ordinance to allow for small flocks.
Ames cited reasons for allowing backyard chickens in Holly Springs, including “the ability to consume fresh eggs;” eggs are a “more substantial provider of protein than high nutritional cow’s milk, fish, beef and soy beans;” and allowing backyard chickens “would provide families with sustainability options in hard economic times.”
He addressed concerns such as pests, odor, noise and property value, and suggested solutions.
The avid backyard chicken advocate said hens act as a natural pest control, reducing the insect population by feeding on them. He said backyard flocks do not have an odor that and hens produce less waste than the average pet dog.
Since roosters are not necessary for egg production and hens don’t crow, Ames said noise won’t be an issue with backyard flocks. Ames said there was no intention to “usurp any homeowners associations or the like.”
“There is absolutely no evidence that keeping pet hens within the ordinance guidelines would have any effect on property values,” Ames said. “Homeowners should have as much freedom as possible with minimal government interference.”
Sarah Hughes keeps chickens in her backyard and spoke after Ames at the workshop. Hughes said that her flock is 3 years old and they are “quiet when the sun goes down.” Hughes said she has had no complaints, and that her chickens “are pest control.”
“I hope that you’ll see they’re really beneficial for this community; there’s a lot of support for them,” Hughes said. “I haven’t seen any issues with animal control since Cherokee County legalized them.”
Ames asked that Holly Springs model their ordinance after the Cherokee County ordinance, which does not allow roosters or the slaughter of hens. Cherokee’s ordinance also states restrictions for the amount of hens allowed based on the size of the residential lot, and requires a fenced enclosure that must contain 2-square-feet per hen.
The council did not address the request, only thanked the speakers for their input.
Naming a new park
In other action, the council discussed the proposed name for the new Hickory Road Park. Mayor Tim Downing suggested the name “Constitution Park” and asked for guidance from the council on whether to include the topic in the July newsletter and call for public input.
City council members Dee Phillips and Karen Barnett suggested asking for public opinions. Barnett said, “We want the public to have ownership of the park.”
During the special called meeting after the workshop, the council voted to postpone naming Hickory Road Park until a later date. On Tuesday, the city asked for help from residents. Ideas for the name of the park should be sent to Jennifer Stanley or submitted online by visiting hollyspringsga.us and clicking on the “Community Voice” tab on the left.
The council heard three options for the ratification of the Cherokee County Water and Sewerage Authority Holly Springs Downtown Sanitary Sewer proposal to put in a force main. City Manager Rob Logan recommended the lowest cost option, route C, with a total cost around $1.4 million. During the meeting that followed the workshop, the council approved route C, which was the shortest route distance.
The force main in option C would follow parallel to the already laid gravity line up to Walnut Street, go over Palm Street and to the manhole at the Holly Springs Depot.
A Community Development Block Grant was discussed by the council and passed in a vote during the meeting. The grant authorizes submitting the CDBG to Cherokee County, which includes repair and resurfacing projects for Palm and Holly Streets, and the downtown sanitary sewer project.
Solid waste regulation was discussed by the council and Logan asked for feedback from the council. Barnett said residents don’t want regulation and said “they were very vocal about that before.” Barnett said she was concerned about the hardship regulation might cause local businesses.
Councilman Michael Zenchuk noted that Holly Springs was an “outlier” in the area and that there is a cost associated with garbage trucks using city roads.
Downing concluded the discussion on solid waste management by asking staff to put together recommendations for later review by the council.
A rezoning request for additional time to complete construction at Lendon Academy was discussed and Downing said he supported the extension of four years to October 2017.
The council also discussed amending text of a zoning ordinance pertaining to the definition of a clinic and the difference between a clinic and a hospital. Community Development Director Nancy Moon cited confusion with the current ordinance.
The final item on the workshop agenda was a request for a sound system for the courtroom. Information Technology Technician Ron Carter said the system would cost between $5,000 and $9,000, require minimal to no maintenance and would include microphones for the council and podium, and mounted speakers in the courtroom. Zenchuk suggested splitting the cost with court since they would be sharing the use.
The council also passed proclamations for National Teachers’ Day and Teacher Appreciation Week, and for Municipal Clerks’ Week.