Neighbors fighting to have chickens as pets in Boiling Spring Lakes

Updated: May. 7, 2019 at 4:50 PM EDT
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BOILING SPRING LAKES, NC (WECT) - A proposal to allow chickens in all residential areas is ruffling some feathers in Boiling Spring Lakes.

Right now, chickens are only allowed in R6 zones, or residential properties five acres or bigger. The city’s planning board approved a proposal a few months ago to allow chickens in other residential areas, under certain circumstances. Some of those circumstances include issuing a permit and keeping the chickens in an enclosure with a coop that has to meet certain measurements. Now, the city’s board of commissioners gets the final say.

Tuesday night, neighbors plan to speak at the board of commissioners’ public hearing about the topic. Many argue Boiling Spring Lakes is a rural area, and think in a rural area, chickens should be allowed. They said they’re pets just like dogs and cats.

“We love being in the country. We don’t have street lights. We don’t have sidewalks. We don’t have our own grocery store," Cynthia Barker said. “To me, when we were moving here, it was evident we are going to live in the country and we can do more of a country kind of living.”

Barker gave her three chickens to her friend after she found out it is illegal to have them on her property. She said she was worried if she kept them, the city would take them.

“Right now chickens are not allowed, and so I just didn’t feel like I had a choice. I had to give them away, and it broke my heart because there is just something awesome about going out in the backyard and getting fresh eggs for my husband and I,” Barker said.

Barker is part of a group of neighbors that have signed a petition to give city council members. According to Barbara Snyder, who started the petition, more than 700 people have signed it.

Mayor Craig Caster said he is against the proposal.

“I don’t want chickens next to me and a lot of residents don’t want them," Mayor Castor said. “This isn’t the country. This is the city of Boiling Spring Lakes. If you want chickens, move to the country or move into the county where you can have such farm animals. Here in the city, the city is not the country.”

The group of neighbors in favor of the proposal showed up to Tuesday’s meeting in red shirts to make a statement. The planning board will vote on the proposal at next month’s meeting.

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