To the disappointment of Loganville resident Chris Kluge who had raised the issue, the Walton County Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday not to allow backyard chickens in residential subdivision. Commissioners voted unanimously to amend the Walton County Comprehensive Land Development in accordance with the Planning Commission recommendation which was not to allow any chickens to be kept in any R1 zoning.
“I am very disappointed at the boards decision. Even those that were in favor, changed their position,” Kluge said. “It is in my humble opinion that they trade votes so they get what they want passed, it is all so very political.”
Commissioners had two options to decide between, one that would have allowed up to six chickens in a residential subdivision on condition they were not roosters or crowing hens and would not be raised for commercial use. That option, however, was not the one that passed. Commissioners voted instead to go with the option that does not allow for any chickens in residential subdivisions.
Kluge vowed, however, not to give up the fight. She said she plans to reach out to the community to gather more support.
“There are many backyard chicken owners in Walton county. Just last month Gwinnett county saw the light, and amended their ordinance to allow backyard chickens in residential zones. A few months ago, Athens also jumped on board to allow backyard chickens,” Kluge said. “Walton County stands out like a sore thumb, I just don’t understand it! I’m one person trying to make a change with a very political group of good ole boys. But David did defeat Goliath with a simple stone. I will keep trying.”
The chick flap began when Kluge, was cited for having chickens on her property and it came to light that many people had backyard chickens and were not aware that it was in violation of the ordinance. Kluge subsequently addressed the BOC and asked them to consider changing the ordinance to allow for a limited number of chickens in residential areas, with restrictions. A neighbor allowed Kluge to move her chickens to his property, which is close enough for her to continue to keep them.
Planning Director Mike Martin said the code enforcement office traditionally responds to complaints from residents on code enforcement violations.
“It’s all we can do to keep up with code enforcement complaints, so that is the way we handle it,” Martin said. “The same will apply in this case. If we get a complaint, we will investigate it.”