Birmingham, Alabama residents show up to support urban farming ordinance
A “renegade chicken farmer” admitted to keeping illegal chickens in the city on a mobile tractor coop with wheels
By Emily Lowrey
The Magic City Post
January 09, 2013
The Zoning Committee meeting at City Hall this morning to discuss changes to the city ordinance to make Birmingham friendly toward urban farming brought out a diverse crowd of about three dozen people. From business suits to flannel shirts, ladies wanting to keep urban chickens to a brood of people from Jones Valley Teaching Farm, and 20 somethings to retirees – everyone had the same mission: to get the ordinance passed. The Zoning Committee was in agreement.
With a few minor changes, the ordinance passed and will now go to the Birmingham City Council for a vote and perhaps a few changes of their own.
Elizabeth Barbaree-Tasker, REV Birmingham employee who sits on the committee, successfully championed an amendment to the allowable proximity of chicken coops to other structures – expanding them from 25 ft. to 15 ft. “I know my yard is small, and I would have to place it in the dead center,” said Tasker.
Councilwoman and Zoning Committee member Kim Rafferty brought up concerns over the lack of required soil testing in the ordinance, especially in those areas near the airport that have known contaminants. While committee members pointed out that the state of Alabama does not require soil testing on any existing farms, they agreed that soil testing should be required and passed an amendment.
The zoning ordinance received quite a bit of support from members of the community, who stood up to offer any help needed in implementing the ordinance if passed.