EVeryone in Delaware should be involved in this issue...I live nearby in PA and was born and raised and still work in DE.
The issues (since the article is no longer posted) is that a woman in the suburb of Hockessin (that's ho KESS in) was raising chickens in her suburban yard for a few years and someone finally complained. New Castle County, in an astounding forward thinking moment, took the opportunity to review their laws regarding raising livestock and has proposed changing the law to allow up to six hens on sub-divided property. I believe there is a minimum acreage (1/2?).
I do not have all the details, since I no longer live in DE. The vote is scheduled for Tuesday.
There is debate on all sides. Many in favor, some against (not in my neighborhood) and some legitimately debating that the law should not be a blanket statement, but should follow zoning laws (i.e., maybe the neighborhood should be rezoned).
On a personal note, the reason I have "emigrated" over the state line is due to the suburban sprawl on the DE side of the line and the unneccesary increase in mcmansions.
I have copied the begining of the article that was printed in the Sunday New Journal (Wilmington, DE).
Backyard chickens may become the next big thing in New Castle County if the government revises land-use laws to accommodate the growing trend of urban farming.
The 13-member council will vote Tuesday night on an ordinance that would allow up to six chickens on residential land that is a half-acre to one acre. The current law prohibits a long list of farm animals on residentially zoned property of less than an acre.
The vote should bring an end to months of debate sparked by a Hockessin woman who was cited by Code Enforcement after a neighbor turned her in for the noisy rooster watching over a flock of hens in her backyard coop.
Kathleen Hildebrand got rid of the rooster but kept her four hens because she wants fresh, chemical-free eggs as part of her commitment to a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. She said she's hoping council will vote to make her "an outlaw" no more.
"I know they have to try to consider everybody in the community, and you cannot please all of the people all of the time," Hildebrand said. "But I still maintain a lot of people may be in a place where they might want to become a little more self-sustaining."
Urban farming is a movement gaining popularity in cities and suburbs as more residents choose to grow their own food to ensure its healthfulness, live greener and cope with the recession. Baltimore, Los Angeles and New York allow the concept, although other cities are still debating it.
Councilman William Tansey, who represents Hildebrand, pushed the ordinance in early September and was met with opposition from other elected leaders worried the change would benefit one constituent and literally open the barn door to all kinds of animals in neighborhoods. They said they already deal with complaints from residents unhappy about dogs, cats, animal waste and related problems.
Backyard chickens are still illegal in New Castle County -- for now.
County Council voted 10-3 on Tuesday against a law that would allow keeping as many as six chickens on residential lots of a half-acre to one acre. Council wants to keep intact the county's property maintenance code which prohibits farm animals on residentially zoned lots of less than an acre. The new law would have made an exception for chickens.
The vote capped months of debate raised by Hockessin resident Kathleen Hildebrand, who appealed for a change in the law so she could keep a backyard flock as part of her commitment to a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Hildebrand wants the fresh, chemical-free eggs her hens provide.
Proponents said allowing backyard chickens would give residents a chance to participate in urban farming, a movement to help city dwellers and suburbanites grow their own food to ensure its healthfulness, live greener and cope with the recession. But opponents said the proposal would put a burden on neighborhoods, especially those with deed restrictions against farm animals.
She is only 1 of hundreds of New Castle residents who continue to keep backyard chickens quietly. If it wasen't for the rooster crowing to begin with she would probrably still have her flock as many of us here do. I was really hoping they would make this change in ordinance for us.