Chris and Erin Lewis want to continue to keep the four or five hens they’ve had at 115 Hycliff Road for the past three years.
The chickens provide eggs for their family and learning opportunities for their young, home-schooled children, they said in a presentation to the Rome-Floyd County Planning Commission earlier this month.
But the rambling urban poultry also pose a safety hazard for their elderly neighbor, the woman’s daughter Regina Bishop told the board — and there is the fear of histoplasmosis, a disease caused by airborne fungus that can live in bird droppings.
The planning commission voted 5-3 to recommend denial of the permit.
City Commissioners have twice rejected an ordinance that would have allowed and regulated chickens in residential areas. In a caucus discussion about the Lewises’ application, City Commissioner Buzz Wachsteter protested the scheduled hearing.
“We have a consensus: no livestock in the corporate limits,” he said. “Enough is enough.”
But City Manager John Bennett noted that special-use permits are possible under local law, and Commissioner Bill Collins said the issue is not going away.
“Buzz, maybe you’re not riding the streets then, baby, because chickens are everywhere,” Collins said.
Both the Lewises and Bishop brought supporters to the planning commission’s Oct. 4 hearing.
The Rome City Commission caucuses at 5 p.m. and starts its regular session at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 601 Broad St. Both sessions are open to the public. Click here for a complete agenda packet.
Among the other items on the board’s agenda are decisions on the Alcohol Control Commission’s recommendation of license suspensions at three restaurants caught selling alcohol to minors.
The ACC recommended a two-day suspension of the pouring permit at the Stonebridge Grill. The grill is at the city-owned Stonebridge Golf Club, which is managed by Billy Casper Golf.
If approved, the grill would not be able to serve alcohol this Saturday and Sunday.
Three-day suspensions are recommended at El Toro Mexican Restaurant, 2115 Shorter Ave., and Mi Alazan, 3 Central Plaza. If approved, the suspensions would run Thursday, Friday and Saturday.