Lenoir to allow backyard chickens

Nov. 20, 2013 @ 08:33 AM

Lenoir back yards are now for the birds.

The Lenoir City Council narrowly adopted an amendment to its code of ordinances Monday night to allow residents to apply for a permit to house as many as four hens in the back yard if they are confined at least 50 feet from houses. The city previously allowed residents to keep chickens in a confined area like a pen or shed at least 200 feet from any residential structure, a distance that eliminated many yards from consideration because not many are that large. 

Councilmen Lewis Price, David Stevens and Ron Stilwell opposed the measure.

“I don’t think we have a broken ordinance,” Stilwell said.

Councilman Ben Willis, who voted for the change, said the measure meshes with the community’s trend to be more aware of where its food comes from, the city’s move toward becoming more environmentally conscious and its urban-gardening focus.

Chapel Hill, Cornelius, Davidson, Hudson and Sawmills are among other towns that allow backyard chickens, and most limit the number of birds, prohibit roosters because of the noise, stipulate setbacks from adjacent properties, require sanitary maintenance and require a permit.

In other business, the council also approved a request by NC Datacenters LP, which operates a data center at 801 Main St. NW, to change the zoning for all of its property to light industrial use. A portion of it was zoned for high-density residential use, such as apartments.