Backyard chickens won’t be on Windsor ballot

Published 3:43 pm Monday, September 24, 2018

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Backyard chickens will not appear as a ballot question during the Town of Windsor’s council election this November.

Town Manager Michael Stallings informed the members of council during their September meeting that after speaking with the State Board of Elections and reviewing the Code of Virginia, he was unable to find any language that would allow the town to put the matter on the ballot. The State Board of Elections indicated that only matters specifically allowed in the state code could be placed on the ballot, he said.

The members of council had asked Stallings to look into the matter during its August meeting after Catherine Daley, a resident of the Windsor Woods development, asked them to reconsider their position on the issue. Daley said that she had been unaware of the ordinance at the time she had moved to Windsor from Chesapeake and that the chickens she keeps in her backyard act like therapy animals for her son, who has a diagnosed disorder.

The debate over residential chickens had last come before the council in 2017, when they voted down an ordinance recommended by the town’s Planning Commission that would have permitted chickens on lots zoned R1 and R4 with certain conditions.

Stallings said that with plans for an official referendum not proceeding, he has received no direction from the council to do anything further with the chicken ordinance.

“It will be up to Council to bring the issue up again if they want to pursue it,” he said.