Official unaware of zoning rule

Published 10:38 am Saturday, October 9, 2010

COURTLAND—Southampton County Planning Commission Chairman Dr. Alan Edwards says he didn’t know that having chickens violated the county’s zoning rules.

Edwards is now asking his fellow planners for permission to keep the 20 to 25 chickens at his Courtland-area home.

“If that’s what we need to do …” he said. “Everybody needs to follow the rules.”

Edwards and his wife, Erin, live in Darden Mill Estates, which is a subdivision that — according to the county’s zoning ordinance — does not allow farm animals, said Beth Lewis, county director of community development.

However, exceptions are made with permission from the planning commission through what’s known as a conditional-use permit.

“He cannot have chickens, horses, goats and pigs without a conditional-use permit,” Lewis said.

The Edwardses will have a public hearing before the planning commission at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, in the Southampton County Office Center at 26022 Administration Center Drive in Courtland. They also are asking to build a chicken coop.

The ordinance requires that a chicken coop be 100 feet from neighboring property lines, Lewis said.

“He does have a two-acre lot,” she said. “It’s certainly large enough to accommodate it.”

The planning commission will hear the Edwardses’ case and make a recommendation to county supervisors for approval or disapproval. Supervisors will probably make their decision in November, Lewis said.

Alan Edwards has no problem with the process.

“This is an effort to make sure everyone stays in line,” he said.