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Give Me Chickens, or Give Me Death!

baby-chickenBy Patrick Jett – Mechanicsville District

Did you know it is illegal to own chickens in residential areas of Hanover County?  This simple property use is a protected freedom in the communities all around us.  Henrico County, Chesterfield County, the Town of Ashland and even the City of Richmond allow their property owners the simple freedom to raise hens and enjoy their benefits.

While the title of this article exaggerates the issue, I never imagined, as a lifelong resident of Hanover County, that our personal freedom to own Backyard Chickens would be denied by the same government which promotes rural celebrations such as the Tomato Festival, the Strawberry Festival and Beaverdam Heritage Days.  Hanover County is proud of its most famous son, Patrick Henry.  His historic stature delivers tourism revenue to the county coffers each year with historical tours of Scotchtown and its courthouse.  However, do the government officials, elected and unelected, embrace the true meaning of their founding father’s most famous speech?

I repeat my question from above – Did you know that keeping a few egg-laying hens is illegal in Hanover?  I understand some neighborhoods would choose to not allow keeping chickens.  These Planned Urban Development subdivisions with their homeowners associations and bylaws can restrict backyard chickens.

Why is it that Hanover County through its Municipal Code feels the need to impose this restriction of property rights on all of its tax paying residential landowners?  This is a simple example of government overreach.

The Hanover zoning ordinance permits “keeping of small animals, insects, reptiles, fish or birds, but only for personal enjoyment or household use, and not as a business”, yet keeping even a single egg-laying hen is forbidden.  We’re not talking about running a commercial poultry operation out of a backyard.  We are talking about keeping a few hens for enjoyment, education and an option for a safe source of non-GMO food.  Why, as a tax paying landowner with approving neighbors, would I be legally forbidden from keeping a few hens?

This issue has been brought before the Board of Supervisors numerous times over the last few years.  We continue to see huge areas of a once-agricultural county converted into high-density residential subdivisions.  How can a county that repeatedly claims to support the preservation our rural quality of life continue to asphalt the county and not even yield a compromise at enjoying a bit of rural living?

Demanding either chickens or death is a purposeful exaggeration.  These days, however, I find myself wondering if the people of Hanover County aren’t anxious to relish in our historic cries for Liberty and demand a few Backyard Chickens. (And for clarity, I am not including roosters in this request. They can be noisy!)

Please contact your supervisor to let them know you support Backyard Chickens as a property owner freedom.

South Anna District – Mr. Wayne Hazzard – wthazzard@hanovercounty.gov

Beaverdam District – Mr. Aubrey Stanley – amstanley@hanovercounty.gov

Henry District – Mr. Sean Davis – smdavis@hanovercounty.gov

Chickahominy District – Ms. Angela Kelly-Wiecek – ackelly@hanovercounty.gov

Ashland District – Mr. Ed Via – gevia@hanovercounty.gov

Mechanicsville District – Mr. Canova Peterson IV – wcpeterson@hanovercounty.gov

Cold Harbor District – Mr. Elton Wade, Sr. – ejwade@hanovercounty.gov

Don’t know your district?  Please find it @:

http://www.hanovercounty.gov/RG/Hanover_County_Redistricting_Overall.pdf

To learn more, check us out on Facebook @:

www.facebook.com/giveuschickens

About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog.

Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

23 Responses to “Give Me Chickens, or Give Me Death!”

  1. Mr. Green Jeans says:

    Mrs. Green Jeans and I applaud Mr. Jett for his citizen activism to bring Backyard Chickens to Hanover County. Water doesn’t come from a faucet and eggs don’t come from the grocery store. Many people grow their own gardens with Heirloom Variety seeds. Eating free range chickens and beef and non GMO eggs has become a healthy way of life for folks.

    It is time for Hanover Supervisors to give the citizens what they want- Backyard Chickens.

  2. VA Right Mom says:

    There is no rational reason a homeowner with a 1/4 acre lot or greater in Hanover County couldn’t raise a few egg laying hens in their backyard. Chickens eat Ticks and snakes and other undesirable pests in the garden. It’s better pest control than paying Mosquito Squad to put toxic chemicals down that contaminate ground water and kill hummingbirds and pollinators and other beneficial insects in the garden. It is a sustainable way to live.

    Give me Chickens, Hanover.

  3. Eli Watson says:

    Who knew Hanover County government banned Chickens with their Agenda 21 Municipal Code?
    Thanks Mr. Jett for your informative post.

    Yes! to Hanover Chickens.

  4. Jed Cline says:

    I could have predicted this when Hanover County hired Yankees to run the damn county. Outsiders who live in subdivisions with their tennis courts and swimming pools and homeowners associations.

    Who in a million years would have known those sneaky bureaucrats put in a law outlawing chickens in the code of Hanover County Virginia?

    Supervisors- give us chickens.

  5. Galen Copp says:

    The carpetbagger supervisor who Migrated to Hanover who is opposed to chickens is Angela Kelly Wiecek from Chickahominy. Bob Setliff’s gift to Hanover County. kidding. She lives in Ashcreek. What do you expect?

    http://www.facebook.com/notes/angela-kelly-wiecek-chickahominy-district-supervisor/backyard-chickens-in-hanover/965759480101116

  6. 4H'er says:

    4H supports Back Yard Chickens!!!!!!!!

    • Patrick Jett says:

      Thank you all for your support of this property rights issue! I’m very encouraged by the rapidly-growing support that is being shown.

      Over the next couple of weeks, it will be great if 4H and FFA groups can help get the word out and encourage everyone to write to their supervisors.

      Writing short letters, e-mails or making phone calls to the supervisors is a critical part of this effort. I am very grateful to VA Right!, and everyone who supports this issue, for the time they take to spread the news and communicate with the Board.

      Patrick Jett
      Mechanicsville District

    • Master Gardeners Support Backyard Chickens says:

      Master Gardeners support Backyard Chickens. They eat ticks and snakes and other garden pests.

  7. Loves Fried Chicken says:

    Where is Sandy Sanders on this libertarian Property Rights issue? Hmmm???

  8. Fed Up in Hanover says:

    Mr. Cline:

    The Agenda 21 Nazi Enforcer for Hanover County is Director of Planning David Maloney who lives in one of those high dollar neighborhoods near King’s Charter- Ivy Trace. You know the ones with Homeowners Associations who tell you your mailbox is crooked and your flowers aren’t pretty. He wrote the code banning chickens because he doesn’t want his 36 employees in Planning Department to have to take “Chicken Phone Calls.” Zoning and Code Compliance falls under his department.

    But Maloney spends his weekends at White Stone on the river. He just doesn’t want Hanover residents to have chickens. Another unelected bureacrapper ruining our lives. He’s a liberal.

  9. William Newberry says:

    Maloney is a Yankee carpetbagger and a graduate of VCU in URBAN PLANNING who should be planning the ruination of cities such as Philadelphia, Trenton, and Baltimore, not rural Hanover County.

  10. Cissy Mims says:

    We’ve had chickens for years and love them. We enjoy fresh eggs and feed our chickens non GMO feed which we purchase at Dunreath Farm in Ashland.

    I can’t imagine not having backyard chickens. Our children grew up with them and learned to collect the eggs when they were older. They are safe and eat insects in our garden and supply us with a sustainable food source. I encourage everyone to write the Hanover County Board of Supervisors and ask them to consider allowing Hanover residents the right to enjoy Backyard Chickens.

    Cissy Mims
    Henry District

  11. What is Hanover County Hiding? says:

    Hope the county administrators can push the “On Button” for Livestreaming of the Board of Supervisors meeting before the Backyard Chicken Public Hearing.

    It will be great to hear Chickahominy Supervisor Angela Kelly-Wiecek tell 73,000 voters in Hanover County why she opposes basic property rights in a rural county with an agricultural heritage.

    Can’t wait. You could sell tickets to that show.

  12. Juris Doctored says:

    Having just read the minutes from many of the board meetings where citizens requested Backyard Chickens at Citizens’ Time, why haven’t the seven board members acted on this request?

    Cold Harbor Supervisor Elton Wade has asked for Backyard Chickens due to many requests by Cold Harbor residents.

    Hanover is not governed by a county manager form of government. The elected supervisors can take a vote and approve this simple property rights issue at the next meeting.

    Why are they sweeping this issue under the rug and delegating it to Planning who OPPOSES IT?

    PLANNING DIRECTOR David Maloney is NOT AN ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE.

  13. Rudie says:

    I’m confused. I live in Cold Harbor and I’ve seen numerous houses with backyard chickens. Are these residents keeping these chickens in violation of the code? The article quotes the county code on what is permissible, then says that it denies residents the ability to keep chickens, even though the quote from the county code seems to clearly state that we can indeed keep chickens as long as it’s not for commercial purposes.

    • Patrick Jett says:

      That’s exactly what had me so confused when I first tried to get chickens. The Planning Office said I couldn’t, but the ordinance seemed to say I could. The county does not include chickens under “birds”, they define them as poultry, livestock, etc. In the end, the county will enforce their interpretation and the Planning Departments says “no”.

  14. Erica M Lawler says:

    If you are zoned A-1, you may keep poultry and any other livestock for commercial purposes. It is in the municipal code under the zoning ordinance section. What I find interesting about the restrictions in A-1 is that commercial slaughter of large livestock is prohibited as a primary use of one’s property. Hanover County would be well-served with a custom slaughter facility similar to the one in Providence Forge. I’d like to check with VDACS whether such local ordinance applies to premises exempt from inspection as custom slaughter facilities. It absolutely is commerce in terms of processing animals for a monetary fee, but since it is not inspected, should it be subject to the conditional use terms? The conditional use terms restrict commercial slaughter to properties of 20 acres or more, but that much space is excessive for small-scale custom slaughter. I raise dairy goats and there’s a great market for excess buck kids, but many people want to be able to slaughter at the time of pick-up so they can put the meat into a cooler and drive it home. It would be a great small business opportunity for 4-H folks if a custom slaughter facility were nearby, but it doesn’t seem possible in Hanover County.

  15. Patrick Jett says:

    Here’s an update on the current feedback from our Board of Supervisors. These are their current stances on Backyard Chickens based on the phone conversations I have had so far. All of the supporters desire minimum protections for HOA’s, no roosters, etc.

    Wayne Hazzard – Supporter
    Aubrey Stanley – Supporter
    Canova Peterson – Supporter
    Elton Wade – Supporter
    Ed Via – Could not contact
    Sean Davis – Could not contact (for update)
    Angela Kelly-Wiecek – Opposed

    It’s really exciting to have four supporters at this point. Praise God! Let’s keep up this good work. If you contact a supervisor who is listed as a supporter, please thank them for caring about their constituents desires!

  16. Renee says:

    Are there any updates on this issue? My husband and I are seriously considering moving to the county. I\’ve been planning for a few year to raise a few chickens and was very disappointed when I ran across this article in my research.

  17. Renee says:

    Thank you! Headed to FB now

    • Patrick Jett says:

      The final public hearing and vote is now scheduled for Wednesday, May 11th at 7:00pm. It will occur in the Board Room of the Administrative Building. Come on out to show your support!

      In the meantime, anyone who can send supportive e-mails, letters and phone calls to their Supervisors will be very helpful. Feel free to let your Supervisor know that you are concerned about the requirements for identification banding of the chickens and the mandatory top on the enclosure. These sound good, but will cause real issues in practical application for anyone attempting to comply.

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    Tom White Says:

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