Lookout Mountain, Ga. Planning Commission Sends Chicken Ordinance To City Council

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - by Gail Perry

The Lookout Mountain, Georgia Planning Commission voted Tuesday night on a final draft of an ordinance that will add raising chickens to the list of permitted uses of property in the town’s single-family districts. The commission made two revisions to the terms, conditions and limitations contained in the ordinance that was discussed at the last planning commission meeting. The vote was unanimous to send the chicken ordinance to the city council, which will make the final decision.

The terms and conditions include:

·         Property owners that keep chickens must apply for a special permit and pay all applicable fees.

·         No more than 15 permits will be issued by the city council for any one-year period and permits must be renewed annually.

·         The property where chickens are kept must be in compliance with all zoning, building, health and safety codes.

·         Only hens will be permitted. No roosters will be allowed.

·         Chickens may be kept in rear yards only. They will not be allowed in any portion of a front or side yard. The rear yard must be fully fenced and in compliance with the city’s zoning ordinance.

·         The number of chickens allowed and setback requirements for coops are both based on the size of the property. No chickens will be allowed on lots less than .3 acre. The numbers range from six chickens allowed on the smallest designated lot size to 24 allowed on property that is five acres or greater. Set backs from property lines and streams increase as the size of the property increases.

·         Chickens must be kept inside their coops, secure from predators from sunset to sunrise.

·         No chickens may be slaughtered.

·         No chickens or eggs may be sold on the property of any permit holder.

·         There are penalties for violations and a two-year sunset provision.

The planning commission also voted to recommend the creation of a new position to the city council. The job title will be Building and Land Use Administrator. Community volunteer Jimmy Campbell is expected to take on the new job. He will be the liaison between the applicant for a building or work permit and the planning commission, which is the body that approves or denies a building project. The new process will approve work prior to it coming before the planning commission.

He will assist individuals in the process of applying for permits for buildings and other structures, including fencing, by providing pertinent information and guidance. The holder of this position will, along with the City’s Building Official, make inspections of premises and preliminary investigations regarding compliance. A recommendation will then be made to the Planning Commission for granting, denying a permit or putting conditions on a project. Keeping current records of all information related to the permitting process of a project will be another responsibility of the job. New software has been purchased that will allow each step to be maintained in one place.

It was noted that property owners fail to get permits for a lot of work that is done in the town. This was partially blamed on people not being aware what type of work is required to have a permit. Chairman of the Planning Commission Keith Sanford said the guidelines for jobs that need to be permitted are on the city’s website.

This position is an advisory role with all final decisions and determinations to be made by the Municipal Planning Commission, The Board of Zoning Appeals or City Council.

An update was given to the planning commission, on the city’s Comprehensive Plan. Cindy Whitaker said that a new data base is the first thing needed and it is currently being worked on with the help of Covenant interns. Old, inaccurate information will be cleaned up and new information will be added. It is hoped that phone numbers and email addresses can be collected so the database can be used to contact citizens. A survey will be created that will assist the planners in determining what city residents and property owners want and need, to help plan for the future. Surveys are expected to go out this summer.

Both the chicken ordinance and the creation of the new position will voted on at the council meeting on Thursday.


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