Virginia councilman: Chicken ordinance too restrictive

Dec. 19, 2013 at 4:02 PM

NORFOLK, Va., Dec. 19 (UPI) -- A Norfolk, Va., city councilman blames restrictive aspects of the city's chicken ordinance for making Norfolk "the laughingstock of the chicken world."

Councilman Tommy Smigiel said there has not been a single application for a chicken license since the city passed an ordinance in September allowing the fowl to be kept in the city, the (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported Thursday.

Smigiel blamed the lack of applications on the restrictive requirements of the law, which include a detailed property survey with drawings of the coop design, electrical power installed in the coops in compliance with building codes and a minimum size of 24 square feet, with 12 of those square feet dedicated to a ventilated indoor space with protection from weather.

"We've kind of become the laughingstock of the chicken world on Facebook," Smigiel said Tuesday. "I don't think that it was this council's intention to not have any citizens be eligible for chickens."

Smigiel said the chicken ordinance is far more restrictive than those in neighboring communities.

"Some of that was through the guidance of the Health Department, who didn't really want this. I think that we really need to look at it," Smigiel said.

Mayor Paul Fraim asked Smigiel to list specific issues with the ordinance and bring them before the council for consideration.

"Just the notion that we'd be the laughingstock of the chicken world," Fraim said. "I thought we had a model ordinance."

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