HOLLY SPRINGS — Several hopeful backyard chicken owners from Holly Springs and surrounding Cherokee cities flocked to the city’s Planning Commission meeting Thursday to show their support for changing the city’s policy.
The Planning Commission voted unanimously at the meeting to make a decision at its July 25 meeting on whether or not to allow the birds in the city limits.
In recent weeks, Holly Springs residents wanting to keep backyard fowl have approached the city’s government and asked for changes to the city’s ordinance allowing the birds, and now Community Development Director Nancy Moon is in the process of drawing up changes to the ordinance that would allow the residents to bring in the birds.
Moon said after the meeting Thursday her draft is not yet complete, but the changes will be based on regulations in the city of Acworth.
Holly Springs resident Kim Anderson was among those who attended and spoke to the Planning Commission in support of the potential changes.
Anderson told the commission that she and her husband recently built a chicken coop in their backyard but have not yet brought in any birds because of Holly Springs’ current ordinance, which doesn’t allow them.
Anderson said she and her husband were under the impression that, because Cherokee County allows small numbers of chickens in residential areas, they would be able to keep them in Holly Springs.
But Anderson said she and her husband were disappointed to learn that living within the city limits of Holly Springs prevented them from having chickens.
“I wish you guys could’ve seen (my husband’s) disappointment,” Anderson told the commission. “It was like a child being given a Christmas present on Christmas morning and then it being jerked back.”
Anderson said after the meeting Thursday she hopes to keep backyard chickens for food purposes.
“We feel like it’s a sustainable way to feed our family,” she said. “One day, we want to be able to have a farm of our own, and we’d like to be able to start doing things like (producing) food for ourselves.”
Another Holly Springs resident, Tyler Ames, who spoke to the City Council in early May asking for the same changes to the city’s ordinance, was also in attendance Thursday night.
Ames, a resident of the Foxhollow subdivision in Holly Springs, said after the meeting that he too hopes he can keep chickens at his home for food purposes.
“I think it’s time for people to take responsibility for themselves and their health,” Ames said. “It’s time for people to come back in contact with where their food comes from. It doesn’t appear from the egg fairy.”
Ames said backyard chickens are an inexpensive way to get back to a more sustainable way of life, and despite the common worries, small flocks should not be an inconvenience for nearby neighbors.
“Truthfully, with the amount of hens we’re talking about, there’s probably no smell,” he said. “And the noise produced by the birds would be nowhere near what your neighbor’s barking dog would be.”
For these residents to get their way, the Planning Commission must vote to approve the ordinance changes at its meeting in July, and then the City Council would have to approve in August, Moon said.