Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Spotsy getting closer to allowing chickens in neighborhoods

Spotsylvania County is giving its chickens a fighting chance.

The Board of Supervisors this week voted to authorize public hearings on a proposed ordinance that would allow chickens in suburban areas. The Planning Commission will hold the first public hearing  Dec. 5 in the Holbert Building, 9104 Courthouse Road.

Currently, chickens are only allowed on lots of at least 5 acres in agricultural or rural zoning districts. A Spotsylvania woman’s plight–which you can read about here–moved supervisors to consider relaxing the county’s chicken restrictions. 

A resident would be able to keep a minimum of two and a maximum of six chickens, based on the proposed ordinance. The hens wouldn’t be able to roam freely, and roosters would be prohibited.  Click  here for more details.

County staff had proposed allowing chickens only if they’re kept at least 35 feet from other residences. Supervisor Emmitt Marshall thought that was too close, so supervisors changed the proposal to 50 feet (they can always lower it later). 

Supervisor Benjamin Pitts was the only one to express much concern with chickens in residential areas at a meeting this week. He wonders how much it will cost the county to enforce. 

“You want these new programs, you’re going to have to increase staff to provide the services,” Pitts said.

Some on the Planning Commission have said  they don’t think allowing chickens will be a big deal. Many homeowners associations restrict fowl, and the county can’t override those rules.

The Fredericksburg City Council recently approved a proposal that allows residents to have chickens and bees. Chicken ownership has become popular nationwide as people look to raise local food, though Pitts noted he hasn’t heard from any constituents who want them.