I received this bit of political activism from Laurel Street neighbor Tommy Birchett:
Honorable Charles R. Samuels Councilman,
My name is Tommy Birchett and I spoke last night at City Council
during the public comments. I have been enrolled in courses on
backyard chickens at the William Byrd Community House. I initially
became interested in raising chickens when I was visiting a former
neighbor who moved to Charlottesville. He told me moving there allowed
him to raise chickens legally. He lives downtown near the train
station where city lots are similar in size to Richmond city lots.
The reason I’m writing to you specifically is to request your
assistance regarding some recent bad news for backyard chicken
advocates. Richard Hammack, a VCU Math professor and his family were
recently cited for keeping chickens in their backyard. They had the
chickens for a long time before a neighbor complained. He has not yet
removed them, but plans to follow the law and do so within the
allotted time frame. The underground backyard chicken movement is
growing. As Mr. Hammack says in the following article on NBC 12 news,
“There are lots of chickens throughout the city. You just don’t know
they are there.”
In light of the recent recommendations from the Mayor’s recent Food
Security Task Force I think Mr. Hammack should be allowed to keep his
chickens for now. Furthermore, I have never met or spoken to Mr.
Hammack, but I support backyard chickens and feel that it’s time for a
change and this is a good place to start.
Thank you for your time. You reply is appreciated.
As stated elsewhere, it looks like chickens will be a major upcoming political topic for City Council.
When he did attend a recent Oregon Hill Neighborhood Association meeting, Oregon Hill’s City Councilperson, Marty Jewell, did speak favorably towards changing the code regarding chickens.