Chickens could be allowed in more James City neighborhoods

By Cortney Langley

8:57 PM EDT, June 24, 2014


JAMES CITY - The Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 Tuesday night to ask planners to reconsider allowing chickens in areas of the county zoned general residential and residential redevelopment. Supervisors John McGlennon and Jim Kennedy opposed the measure.

Earlier this month, the supervisors approved allowing hens only, with restrictions, in parts zoned limited residential.

At the time, Chair Mary Jones and Supervisor Michael Hipple expressed interest in including more parts of the county. Supervisor Kevin Onizuk initially said he wouldn't support chickenkeeping in area served by public water and sewer, but he backed Jones and Hipple in at least reconsidering it.

Tuesday's vote directs county planners and the Policy Committee, a subset of the Planning Commission, to consider anew allowing chickens in more residential districts, specifically the R-2 general residential zoning and R-3 residential redevelopment zoning.

Jones said she'd like planners to weigh how other localities on the Peninsula have adapted their ordinances to allow chickens in residential areas.

"There are a lot of citizens that live in R-2 and R-3, that are quite rural pieces of property, and it certainly wouldn't be an imposition," she said.

Hipple said that he wanted to make it clear that if neighborhood covenants prohibit chickenkeeping, chickens won't be allowed in those areas, regardless of the county's amended ordinances.

"A lot of people got into the worry that we're going to put chickens into every neighborhood in James City County," he said. "...If your ordinance in your neighborhood says you can't have chickens, then this doesn't override that."

McGlennon and Kennedy remained opposed to the expansion. Kennedy warned that the Planning Commission should receive specific guidance on what the majority of supervisors want to see in the ordinance. He argued that the Planning Commission had already voted against the first expansion and were unlikely to support relaxing the ordinances further.

The renewed consideration does not include other fowl. Earlier in the month Kennedy pressed Jones about considering geese, ducks and the like, and she originally agreed, but said Tuesday that she would only support consideration of allowing hens.