What the Cluck, Cobb?

Some of the Cobb Commissioners are on the charge to limit property rights again- this time on an ordinance that’s only been in effect for less than a year. Rewind to early 2013, in a 3-2 vote, the Cobb Commissioners voted to ‘allow’ (ugh!) property owners with less than two acres to raise fowl on their property with an approved variance and permission of their neighbors. The fight to get the ordinance passed was a long-winded power struggle was a whirlwind of ethics complaints against JoAnn Birrell by Backyard Chicken activist Joseph Pond- who led the county-wide fight-, personal vendettas and bird flu fears at hearings. The result of the initiative, despite the dismissed ethics charges and an unchampioned ultimate goal, was an incremental success for proponents of Backyard Chickens.

Fast-forward to present day to the prospect of repealing a property rights expansion, Birrell tells the Marietta Daily Journal that she’s brought the issue up again because she ‘didn’t support it a year ago’.  Specifically we’re talking about stirring the pot (of chicken soup?) and wasting county resources on an ordinance for which only six people have applied. Also worth noting is the ever-so-interesting timing, after weeks of swirling rumors of Pond’s (who was ultimately denied a variance under the new ordinance) run for Birrell’s commission seat. He officially announced his campaign last Friday for the May 20th Republican primary.

So… where is all of this coming from? Personal grudges? Community health? Property rights? Are we in the midst of a very public high school fight or a very principled political issue? Regardless of the outcome, who’s going to pay for that eggtravagant stadium?


  1. Jon Lester says:

    They’ve already made plain their disregard for the proper role of government, with the whole stadium deal, so of course they’re also prone to personal pettiness.

    In Clarke County, the commissioner who’s most advocated for legalizing backyard chickens is a liberal, good-government kind of guy, and the people who aren’t sold on it haven’t resorted to avian flu hysteria, so there’s no reason for the Cobb debate to go the way it has.

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