Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bill would let more back yards be like barnyards.

By Nancy Badertscher
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Some barnyard animals could be moving into back yards under a bill that cleared a House committee Wednesday.

The bill would allow homeowners to have chickens, milk goats and rabbits -- as well as sizable fruit and vegetable gardens -- so long as the goal would be to feed their families.

Local governments wouldn’t have much room to object, unless they have complaints about things like noise or odor that they're willing to take to court. Subdivision covenants would still apply, said Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-Marietta), sponsor of the “Georgia Right to Grow” bill.

“If Michelle Obama can grow food at the White House, then no Georgia family should be denied the right to grow their own food,” Franklin said.

Last year, some cities in north Fulton pressed homeowners to get rid of their backyard chickens. Some of the homeowners balked, and, in December, Roswell changed its backyard chicken ordinance to allow six birds in yards of one-third to one acre and a maximum of 36 birds with even bigger acreage.

Officials representing cities and counties -- including Atlanta -- told members of the House Agriculture Committee that the bill would usurp local control.

“These decisions are best made locally,” said Tom Gehl, deputy director of governmental relations for the Georgia Municipal Association.

Committee members were split 6-6 on whether to pass the bill, and committee Chairman Tom McCall (R-Elberton) cast the tie-breaking vote.


Anonymous said...

Go Roo Roo and Big Red.

Anonymous said...

This is great news! I'm getting a goat. Already doing the backyard chicken thing. Do goats make noise? I live in a subdivision.

Anonymous said...

how difficult is it to have the chickens - I've been thinking about it but have no clue! Any good resources you know of to research?

Anonymous said...

Why not check with Neal O'brien? I hear he's a real chicken.

Well, at least when it comes to testifying.