Want some really fresh eggs with breakfast?
Fairfax County is exploring the possibility of easing restrictions on owning urban chickens.
Current Fairfax County regulations allow up to 32 chickens on properties of two or more acres. Chicken coops and other structures must be 50 feet from any lot line and there is a $910 fee to apply for a special exception with the Board of Zoning Appeals.
Directed by chicken owner and Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerry Hyland (D), County staff are looking into the possibility and legalities involved in creating a pilot program for a Domestic Fowl Overlay District in the Mount Vernon area.
The model would be based on Prince William County, which adopted a DFOD last spring. There, up to 10 chickens are allowed on properties of one acre or more. Prince William homeowners living outside the chicken district can't house chickens unless the property is on 10 or more acres.
Regulations in other areas vary widely.
A group in Arlington County has been pushing officials there to allow backyard chicken farming. Chickens are legal in Alexandria City, but only for residents who can house the chickens at least 200 feet from their closest neighbor.
Patch asked Lorton residents about the issue at the Lorton Library. Here's what they said:
Gregory Markley recently retired from the Marine Corps:
"I'm definitely not down with that. One of the reasons I live in Lorton is that it is not a farming community. Chickens bring filth and with them come rats and other vermin. I don't want this place to turn into Mexico. I've been to Mexico."
Hieu Phan was at the Library with his daughter:
"I think people should be able to have chickens in their back yard as long as they have the appropriate homes and care. They shouldn't bother the neighbors, but overall, this is their back yard and people should have the choice to use it."
Jennifer Resner doesn't want chickens in her neighborhood:
"I think our properties around here are small enough and it would be a disturbance to our urban lifestyle. I don't feel that families are home enough to supervise their chickens, and I don't think eggs are really that expensive."
* See Patch's article on Barbara Jacksier, a woman who owns chickens in Clifton.