Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Reading the Chicken Entrails

There is much we mere subjects of City Hall can glean from the Great Chicken Debate going on in Warren's World. The superficial topic at hand is whether or not we, the Serfs of Dunwoody, should be allowed more than three live chickens per household as is allowed under current city law.

The debate ostensibly centers around whether the limit should be increased or if this trend towards sustainable poultry will have Dunwoody smelling like a farm instead of just having the image of one on all our signage.

On the "pro" side are council members who lean a bit towards individual freedom and property rights, and who also seem aware of the extensive information and products supporting urban (not just suburban, but URBAN) chicken and egg production for home consumption.

The "con" supporters base their argument on childhood experiences from which they've gleaned that chickens stink and make noise. This isn't the best of arguments but let's give these retired chicken ranchers a good hear.

First we'll ignore the import of the "urban" observation made previously. Then we'll accept the fact that chickens create some stink and hens do indeed cluck. We'll ignore those little nuggets of fertilizer left by the neighbor's dog and we'll consider song birds, well, sonorous. But let's not ignore the fact that everyone in Dunwoody doesn't live in a condo, or a McMansion or a clutter-home. Some folks have yards. Some folks have big yards, some even bigger than their house. Who knew? It would seem obvious to allow those with lots above a certain, reasonable size, say 1/3 acre, a bit of say so regarding their own property and constrain smaller lots to the current restriction with exceptions by way of SLUPs.

Given such a simple solution that protects the individual freedom and property rights on both sides of the issue, on might conclude this is about something other than chickens.  Perhaps what we're seeing is much more important than backyard eggs.

We've been presented with a clear separation between those who support individual rights and those acting like frustrated refugees from a powerless home owners association who can now ram their rules down our throats. Perhaps if some of these folks had mucked out a few stables instead of feeding chickens we would have fewer horse-shit ordinances.