In the first of two monthly readings, the Oak Ridge City Council on Monday approved an ordinance that would allow residents to keep up to six female chickens, or hens, at homes in the city, possibly starting this year. No roosters would be allowed, and henhouses would not be allowed in front yards.
Council approved an ordinance that was adopted by Knoxville in 2010 and amended for potential use in Oak Ridge.
The Monday vote was 5-2 in favor of the “backyard chicken” ordinance. Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch and City Council member Rick Chinn cast the two “no” votes.
Chinn had concerns about lot size, among other things, and Gooch had concerns about the city’s image and potential disputes during implementation and enforcement.
Supporters of the current citizen-led initiative, first started with the help of Jennifer Alexander several years ago and picked up by Kayla Wyatt more recently, argued in favor of the hens for reasons of sustainability, teaching children about where food comes from, and being able to produce fresh eggs, among other reasons. [Read more…]