by Mary Yount
Carrboro residents might be in for a louder wake-up call. The Board of Aldermen is considering revising the law who can raise chickens.
At the end of Pleasant Drive in Carrboro, you will find Bolin Creek Coop, a co-op that is part of the non-profit Weaver Community Housing Association.
The yard in the middle of the housing area contains a vegetable garden, plenty of foliage, and a chicken coop.
Laurin Gioglio has lived at the co-op for a year and says that the chickens have been there for three.
“Each apartment has to take care of them on a day,” Gioglio said. “So, that involves coming out here early in the morning when the sun comes up and letting them out of the coop, and making sure that they have water and dry food. Picking up the eggs at the end of the day, and the around sunset we’re supposed to come and close them up.”
With over 10,000 square feet, the co-op property is within the guidelines on chicken-keeping within Carrboro town limits; however, Alderwoman Bethany Chaney wants to allow chicken ownership for people who do not live on that much property.
“We recently had a resident appeal and really begged the question, ‘why is 10,000 square feet the number? ‘What’s the magic number there?’” Chaney said.
Upon investigating the question, the Board found that there was no concrete reason behind the law.
“It made sense for us to start thinking a little bit more about the chicken ordinance and make sure that it has standards that are meaningful in it,” Chaney said.
Alderman Damon Seils says the Board is largely in favor of altering the ordinance and is looking at the best way to go about it.
“We’re looking to see what other communities require around the keeping of chickens and whether there’s a better way to do it,” Seils said. “For example, instead of doing a minimum lot size, considering some other metric setback requirements or square footage requirements relating to the number of chickens.”
According to Alderwoman Chaney, the health and safety of the chickens and people living around them are the top priorities for the Board, along with resolving the issue as completely as possible.
“We want to make sure that we do a thorough job instead of just fix one problem and find out that another problem is being raised by the same issue,” Chaney said.
Back at the co-op, Gioglio said changing the law would be a good thing as long as people know what they’re getting into when they decide to raise chickens.
“It’s not like a pet,” Gioglio said. “They have complicated needs, and I wasn’t really fully aware of all of that when I first moved in here, just all the different things that they need. They can be quite enriching just by their presence, and the eggs are delicious, but they’re more than a pet.”
The Aldermen say they hope to reach a decision by the end of the year – and there’s little opposition to the change. That means this sound may soon become a bigger part of Carrboro.