Clarksville Considering First Backyard Chicken Ordinance
by Kim Gebbia
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn- The debate over backyard chickens has moved out of Metro, but is pecking its way into Clarksville.
For the first time ever, an ordinance making them legal is being discussed by city council.
The push for change was started by resident Dawn Smith. She had three hens in her Clarksville backyard for almost two years. But, she had to get rid of them when a neighbor complained they were hurting property values.
"It felt empty and it's kind of funny to think of chickens as a pet but that is kind of how it felt just getting rid of the three," said Smith.
Turns out, backyard hens are banned in Clarksville city limits under a vague ordinance. Some choose to ignore the rule, while others wait until someone complains.
"I have five acres there is no reason why I shouldn't be able to have a chicken or two. It's not going to bother anybody," said another neighbor.
But Smith decided not to complain about the law, but change the law. Her uproar caused a new ordinance with that would allow up to six hens within city limits. But not everyone is sold on the benefits of backyard chickens.
Councilman Bill Summers said they should be limited to county property.
"We are not a farming community inside city limits. By and large we are homes, kids, dogs and cats...chickens aren't part of the equation," said Summers.
Summers plans to vote a firm 'no' on the chicken ordinance. He said Clarksville can barely control cats and dogs and they don't need to add chickens to the list.
"It's like people with their other pets there are those who will take care of theirs but those who get tired of them and get busy, then the pets are on their own and this is a major concern that will happen with chickens," said Summers.
"I think the is a place for everything and that is by we have city ordinances," affirmed Smith.
Smith is confident council will get on board and her coop will be chock full of chickens within weeks.
"We are waiting for the day to get them back it I'll definitely be happy day," she said.
They are discussing the ordinance for the first time at Thursday's executive council meeting. The first vote will be next week.