Help to Legalize Chickens in Pulaski County, Va!

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by PulaskiChickens, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. PulaskiChickens

    PulaskiChickens Hatching

    Oct 22, 2014
    Pulaski County residents squawk to Zoning Commission to change backyard chicken law
    Pulaski County residents Leo and Laurie Hawel have petitioned the Pulaski County Zoning Commission to change existing law to allow backyard chickens in R1 residential areas of the county. The Hawels paid for the public commentary advertising which is required to inform county residents of their request for the change in the law.
    The Hawels moved to southwestern Virginia in April with the hope of joining a community that was dedicated to localism, sustainability and personal food production. After establishing a large garden, the Hawels built a sturdy new chicken coop and proceeded to raise eight hens for fresh eggs and home waste disposal (you can make anything taste good by feeding it to a chicken). Shortly after their flock was established, however, two anonymous complaints (two of only nine complaints made in the county about chickens from 2011 – 2014) were filed against their hens. They were notified by the Zoning Commission that chickens were not legal in the rural neighborhood on a half acre lot because it was zoned R1 residential.
    The Hawels were surprised to find out that chickens were not legal because many other residents of their neighborhood keep them, and decided that they needed to do what they could to change a law that is out of date and out of step with the localism culture of the region, and with the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors’ stated goals, including the goal of preserving the area’s rural character. Their request will be on the calendar for the November 13 meeting of the Zoning Commission at 7:00 p.m at the Pulaski County Hall (143 3rd St. NW, Pulaski). The meeting is open to the public and everyone is allowed a three minute comment period if they wish to address the Commission. Once the ZC reaches a decision they will make their recommendation to the Board of Supervisors who will ultimately decide the fate of the Hawel’s fowl.
    The Hawels are seeking support at both meetings from community members who feel that they should be allowed to raise small flocks to feed their family healthy “green” cage-free eggs in a way that does not negatively impact their neighbors. People who are interested in seeing the law changed are invited to visit their FaceBook page Pulaski County Backyard Chickens, and to email them at [email protected] for updates and more information, and most importantly, to attend the Zoning Commission and Board of Supervisor meetings in November. The procedure to comment will be posted on the FaceBook page for those who would like to speak at either meeting. The Hawels also seek letters of support from community members and have already gathered letters from local farmers’ markets and from WVPT’s Virginia Farming’s producer and host, Amy Rosher, who supports the Hawel’s efforts to clear the way for small home flocks as part of a food security and sustainability movement.
    According to the New River Valley Livability Initiative, which is linked to from the County website (, only 3% of Pulaski County residents live within walking distance from a SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recognized grocery source and 67% of restaurants in the county are “fast food” operations; the Hawels believe that those statistics alone should convince the governing bodies that backyard chickens are a good idea whose time has come.
    To learn more about supporting backyard chickens in Pulaski County, please contact Leo or Laurie Hawel through [email protected]

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