Proposed Urban Chicken Coop Ordinance Changes Continue To Spark Debate
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Huntsville Councilman Bill Kling hosted a town hall meeting Monday night to hear from both sides of the chicken coop debate.
This summer Huntsville Hen Alliance started a petition to gain support for relaxed urban chicken coop regulations within city limits, that would reduce the 150-foot setback requirement to 10 feet.
Kling said he didn’t have an opinion on the matter yet, but wanted to hear from his constituents.
Only 12 people showed up for the meeting, each with a passionate opinion about urban fowl.
“I can see having chickens on huge plots of land. but in the city where we are? No way,” said opponent Helen McAllister.
McAllister raised concerns over the health risks of chickens, citing her late-husband’s contraction of histoplasmosis.
Histoplasmosis is a disease caused by a fungus that thrives in moderate temperatures and moist environments. Bird droppings support its growth.
Huntsville had an outbreak of histoplasmosis years ago, caused by blackbirds.
Still, supporters say other cities, like Nashville, Atlanta, and Birmingham, who have relaxed their own urban chicken coop regulations, have not seen any issues.
One supporter became frustrated with claims that chickens would be loud, dirty, or disruptive, after some opponents told anecdotes about issues with neighbors who have been violating the 150-foot setback regulation.
She and other supporters encouraged them to report the violators to the city.
“I have to deal with everybody else’s pets? Why can’t I have a pet that’s actually useful?”
Councilman Kling says any changes have yet to be brought up before the council. He does not expect it to be brought up for several weeks.