Paula Deen’s Chickens Run Afoul Of Zoning Laws

All politics is local, and few things at the local level get all twisted up faster than zoning enforcement. In today’s installment of “busybody makes headlines”, someone in a high end Savannah neighborhood is on a crusade to rid her area of chickens.

Lots of county residents keep chickens, including prominent islanders Paula Deen and Savannah Bee Company founder Ted Dennard.

“Thousands of people in Chatham County keep chickens,” Bill Lynes said. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”

But there may soon be two fewer celebrity chicken keepers if the county follows through on its promise to investigate their backyard chickens, too.

The Lynes received a letter in early June from Chatham County Zoning Administrator Robert Sebek citing two violations: They built the chicken coop without a permit and they were “keeping chickens in a zoning district that does not permit that use.”

Zoning laws often end up tying up each side in court for a long time when residents choose to push back. My guess is that Deen and her neighbors can afford a few lawyers if they really like their chickens and their private property rights. I wonder if Savannah won’t think it best just to let the matter quietly go away. Then again, roosters and neighborhood activists are both hard to keep quiet.

H/T Jim Galloway.


  1. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”

    Perhaps not to someone who buys all their groceries at the grocery store. He’s apparently never had eggs that are only hours or days old vs the weeks old that most people buy at the grocery store. I suppose growing your own tomatoes, cucumbers, or anything else also doesn’t make any sense. Perhaps he just needs to stay out of other peoples’ backyards.

      • Rick Day says:

        Sorry David, but according to my contract, I have right of first refusal to correct anyone who types misstatements in this forum. Please delete your correction and re-read WordPress TOS. As.. penance.

        The gov gave me a Great Deal on granting this authoritahhhhhhh

  2. Todd Rehm says:

    The difference between raising chickens and having a nice garden is that your garden doesn’t start crowing at o’dark thirty and keep going all freaking day.

    For goodness’s sake, who the hell thinks that roosters in Brookhaven is a good idea.

    And I swear that stupid, filthy bird could tell when I was out looking for him. Not a peep. The moment I went back inside and took off my camo, it was cock-a-doodle-doo all freaking day.

    Luckily, he eventually went to freezer camp. Worst thing was that the bastard was tough, dry and gristly.

    Add that to my list of reason for supporting a City of Brookhaven. Outlaw roosters, immediate death penalty to any found in the city limits, with a public frying to follow.

    • I don’t think they’re talking about Roosters here… I only saw hens mentioned. My hens don’t start crowing at o’dark thirty either. 🙂

      …and from what I’ve read Roosters are never really good for anything but stewing / chicken broth. The chicken meat we get at the store is typically from 6 to 8 week old chickens or something like that. The older a hen gets, the less useful it is as meat and instead is used for stewing / chicken broth as well.

      As far as Brookhaven is concerned, you guys can do what you want… so long as nobody tries to tell me I can’t have mine out in unincorporated Cobb, I’m fine. 🙂

  3. GOPundit says:

    Roy Barnes might be interested in this one maybe even pro-bono. I think Roy Barnes is a chicken man if I’m not mistaken… as in he competitively shows his chickens.

  4. drjay says:

    this is such a savannah hullaballo—i think these folks are actually in the county, not the city proper, paula lives on either whitemarsh or wilmington island as i recall. also she has never really been accepted as a savannahian by my parochial brethren, despite being known as such to the rest of the world, she is still that woman from albany to many of the locals, rightly or wrongly she also has a reputation of wanting “special rules” fitting of her special place in the world, like the only stop signs on whitaker being right in front of her restaurant. also i don’t think there are chicken cops working any beats in town and they only investigate after they get complaints, also i believe there are potentially conflicting ordinances at work, so while it makes sense that the issue be dealt with through the agencies involved, it will likely end up in court, or not dealt with until this hits the nat’l media and the city gets embarassed like with the girl scout cookie sales in front of the low house earlier this year…

    • OleDirtyBarrister says:

      I think that they should cut a deal with PD. She gets to keep the chickens, but she never makes another television appearance again or publicly utters, “Heeeeeey Y’aaaaaaall!” That is like fingernails on the chalkboard.

      I have no idea why tourists flock to her restaurant. I wouldn’t go there in the first instance because it is a tourist trap, but every southerner that I have heard from about it says it’s canned vegetables warmed up and falls short of being a culinary benchmark.

      • Obi's Sister says:

        The current establishment is about two clicks above a Piccadilly in my book.

        The restaurant BEFORE, on Congress St. just off Franklin Square was much, much better.

  5. polpol says:

    Aha!!! But they are…..foghorn leghorn and the Chick Fil A Cows have teamed up with the ChickenChatham tweet site to keep it sweet and fried…….

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