Raising chickens on Isle of Palms is a pastime privilege that some residents refuse to accept is no longer permissible. Surrounding municipalities including Sullivan’s Island, Mount Pleasant, Charleston and North Charleston permit residents to possess chickens.
On July 3, the Public Safety Committee discussed a slew of emails they received urging reconsideration for residents to be able to own and foster chickens. The requests came from a Wild Dunes resident who was seeking the city to remove the ban. However, Wild Dunes operates under its own homeowner restrictions and its current covenant does not permit residents to have chickens on their properties.
Committee member Jimmy Ward recalled in 1990 when Isle of Palms allowed chickens. He remembered the case being that the individual lived in an isolated area.
The last time the city readdressed the consideration of chickens was six years ago. In June 2013, council’s consensus at the time was a no-vote. They didn’t deem it necessary to change any regulations and voiced their concern of bird flu.
Now, the city’s reason for continuing to ban chickens on the island is due to the lack of capacity in residential backyards. The ordinance also applies to ducks, geese and pigeons.
“Our city ordinances just do not allow livestock on the island. Our yards are too small meaning our homes are too close,” said mayor Jimmy Carroll. “It sounds all healthy and earthly, but better off in the country.”
Administrator Desiree Fragoso noted there are ways to draft ordinances to restrict the number of chickens, how the coop needs to be built and maintained. Fragoso says these variables depend on lot size and distance from neighbors.
Committee chair Ryan Buckhannon and vice-chair Randy Bell agreed that they have enough issues to deal with right now.
Buckhannon recounted this was his third time while on council that the chicken conversation has arose.
“I don’t necessarily have a problem with it when you limit it,” Buckhannon continued. He compared it to his neighbor who has six golden retrievers on a small lot in close proximity to other neighbors and the city doesn’t implement pet waste requirements or restrictions.
Bell concluded the conversation by reiterating the incident in question is under Wild Dunes’ jurisdiction.
Domestic fowl ordinance violations are criminally punishable and include fines up to $500.