PTC’s Imker lays egg in backyard hens request

Peachtree City Councilman Eric Imker. File photo.

Derides citizens asking for pilot program; ‘I can’t believe we wasted almost an hour’

More than a dozen local residents stuck around late at Thursday night’s Peachtree City Council meeting, asking the city to adopt a pilot program to allow homeowners to keep backyard hens to provide fresh eggs for their family.

Several residents noted that backyard hens often are considered family pets and that families want an option to store bought and mass produced food. Photos were also shown of some rather spiffy-looking chicken coops that appeared as if they had come out of the pages of Better Homes and Gardens or Architectural Digest.

There were also efforts to debunk the idea that chickens are noisy and smelly. The point was made several times that as long as the coop and area are kept clean, there is no smell to speak of, and one resident noted that at her previous home she managed to keep four chickens without her next-door neighbor even knowing until it came time for them to move.

None of it was enough to sway council to adopt the pilot program on the spot. Instead, Council members Kim Learnard and George Dienhart agreed to study the matter further in a cooperative effort with Chicks4PTC, the chicken-raising advocacy group.

While council was concerned with punting the matter to city staff due to workload issues, Councilman Eric Imker at the end of the discussion expressed dismay that the matter had gone on for so long at the meeting.

“I can’t believe we wasted almost an hour of city staff time. There are a dozen people over there,” Imker said, pointing to the city staff in the audience. Imker added that he felt the matter was a low priority, and after one or two residents left the meeting chambers in disgust, Imker noted that he was not opposed to the idea of Peachtree City allowing the pilot program, though perhaps at a scaled back number of homes and with additional regulations.

Imker added that he wanted to be sure no other city work was put on hold by staff to look into the matter, noting that the city is entering its budget planning time and has safety issues to address as well.

“If I find that anything has been put aside to take care of an ordinance for chickens, with staff, then I am going to be extremely upset with staff,” Imker said.

Resident Ann Hayes was the first to respond to Imker’s view, which ruffled feathers in the audience, to put it mildly.

“This is important to me and my family and to some of my neighbors to do something like this,” Hayes said. “You say it’s a low priority but it’s actually kind of a high priority to me. I don’t even want to wait two years if I don’t get to be in a pilot program like this.”

Hayes noted that she cannot control other neighbors’ pets even though she would prefer they not have certain breeds and despite the fact that neighbor’s cats often hang out in her yard. She added that it may turn out that her chickens won’t even disturb her neighbors.

“Why not give us a chance?” Hayes said.

The proposal from Chicks4PTC proposed allowing up to 25 homes to have up to five hens each, but no roosters, with a requirement that the hens be contained in a covered coop and fenced-in area that is not visible from the street or golf cart paths.
Mayor Don Haddix stressed that he wanted data, not opinions, on the issue so he could make a good decision on the matter.

The proposal is expected to be brought up at a future council meeting, though no concrete time frame was set Thursday night.

ptc_mom_101's picture
Joined: 02/12/2013
proud to know and support

I am proud to know the woman behind the group. She has raised an amazing son who is a very big part of our community, and should be respected. But council members need to do their research before they speak rudely to others.
We have no noise ordinance, and if I have to tolerate idiot neighbors taking down trees and putting in pools, then why not allow chickens with in reason. Who doesn't like fresh eggs?! You can clip their wings so they won't fly away, you can say no roosters, and make it chickens only. There are many other communities who make it work, and my sister has a chicken coop in her back yard, and loves it.
Although I can't always be there to support you in the meeting, I support the effort, and love all this ladies son does for our community!

Josh Bloom
Josh Bloom's picture
Joined: 08/15/2010

First off I really don't have an opinion on backyard chickens (yet), but this topic has brought out exactly what is wrong with the dynamics of current council. I was present at this council meeting which went on for 3 hours plus. Backyard chickens was near the bottom of agenda items and so it took awhile to actually get this agenda item. Being at other council meetings I noticed that the gallery was unusually full of citizens. Agenda item's came and went and no one left. I started to assume that everyone was there for Councilman Dienhart's traffic presentation which was on the bottom of the agenda items.

I was wrong! Most everyone in the gallery had endured, annexation requests, variance requests, land use planning, and other basic housekeeping items before getting to the agenda item they were waiting for. Chickens.

The lady that put on the presentation put on a well thought out PowerPoint that was interesting and actually quite entertaining that lasted for maybe 10 minutes. After some back and forth with council the line started to form at the microphone for public comment. It was the hottest topic of the night and it was 10pm...who said government had office hours?

It was clear to me that the folks in council meeting all had opinions on backyard chickens. Some for and some against. It was a good debate and I enjoyed listening to it all. The spokesperson for Mr. Bradshaw (that spoke about annexation) even got up to speak his mind! Interesting to say the least.

Until Councilman Imkar inserted his foot into his mouth...and he thought he was going to squash that debate by stating "I can’t believe we wasted almost an hour of city staff time. There are a dozen people over there,” Imker said, pointing to the city staff in the audience.

We cannot fix the cities issues until we fix council issues.

Mike King
Mike King's picture
Joined: 11/29/2006
Come On Council

This Council has indeed seen it all: Gas golf carts or not, pets on leashes or not, to censure or not, to dock the mayor's pay or not, and now chickens.
It is my firm belief that the five members would have difficulty discerning the difference between roosters and hens, but if they did it would be on a 3-2 vote.
It will be a most interesting summer.

wheeljc's picture
Joined: 10/26/2005
When Will Mr. Imker Control the Canadian GEESE?

Given his proclivity of egg control, when will Mr. Imker focus his magical skills on Canadian geese? Should we write him when they come uninvited onto our property; take it upon themselves to fertilize our property -- including side walks and driveways; and laying eggs without his authority?

SPQR's picture
Joined: 12/15/2007

I believe that would be Canada geese. I don't know why some of them stay here when they should be honking their way back to Canada

NUK_1's picture
Joined: 12/17/2007
Undocumented, illegal Canada geese

Those nuisances need to be deported right back to Canada. No amnesty for these massive poop-machines and their incessant honking and bad behavior in general. Establish a no fly-over zone if necessary on the borders :)

Don Haddix
Don Haddix's picture
Joined: 08/17/2007
Haddix: Geese

People, especially kids, love to feed them. The food, water and good nesting areas are magnets.

PTC loves nature and they are part of nature.

There were efforts in the past to discourage so many being here, but none worked.

Evil Elvis
Evil Elvis's picture
Joined: 04/19/2008
ChickData4Haddox y Cluez4Imk

Mayor Neolithic wants data ... LOLZ ... I say I say I wants data, son. Will no one send him a chicken.xls and rid him of these meddlesome chicks? Never hurts to invoke Thomas à Becket. Even Mudcat don't do that. But she made a good point: Shake the SEAL's hand, Immy la Douche. Look deeply into his eyes as you chide him for wasting your time.

Eric Imker, whilst proving the old adage that politics is show business for ugly people true, demonstrates once more that hubris coupled with stupidity -- even when riding the back of nepotism -- is little more than an accident waiting to happen. But why should the inevitable crash betwixt Imker and Imker's Ego prevent goodly Bubble City preppers from prepping? Raising chickens is beyond wholesome; it is down right puritanical. As scores of residents let their dogs howl day and night with impugnity; and many more relish in sharing their pet's solids and liquids with neighbors, any argument against reasonable chicken-keeping is moot. It just is.

Poor Eric. Listening to Rush never prepared him for this. After a half-hearted Google search for anything Rush or Hannity might have said about the chicken gap only pointed to obscure quotes from Dr Strangelove, he was left to ponder what inbred Austrian economists and hermaphroditical Russian children's book philosophers he has never actually read might think of it all. And how one actually pronounces Keynesian. WWARD?

And then, amongst all the serious thought, Eric remembered the most important factor: He's a bad mofo. He ain't gotta listen to your blather. Like Fredo Corleone, Imker is smart -- not dumb like people say -- and he wants respect. Don't be all up in that meeting wasting dude's time. Aw no you dit-unt. Bout to get real up in hare. You chumps are lucky Eric the Great didn't drop a thousand year ban on poultry just cuz he can. But tread lightly; he may yet still.

Pluck, cluck or ... well, we all remember The Name Game. Eric bearic bo-bearic.
One wonders if "staff" have been instructed to flush for Imker, too. Maybe that was Ceausescu ... or Ryan O'Neal.

Don Haddix
Don Haddix's picture
Joined: 08/17/2007
Haddix: Data

This is not a new issue.

Fact is we dealt with this in 2008 and 2009 when I pushed for ordinance revisions on a lot of problem areas.

Chickens were then and are now allowed on property of one acre or more with 80,000 sq' available. Chickens must be fenced, the fences must be at least 100' from adjoining property and the coops 200'. The only complaint has come from when someone tried to secretly have chickens on small parcels.

As well, I grew up on a farm and we had livestock, including chickens. So there is nothing you can teach me about them.

The real issue, for me, is what parcel size? I will stay with the current ordinance until shown it should be changed.

Dogs and cats are a much harder subject. Indeed they are a real problem when not handled properly.

Angry Taxpayer
Angry Taxpayer's picture
Joined: 01/05/2008
Haddix: "...nothing you can teach me..."

Mr. Haddix, that pretty much sums up your term as mayor!

borntorun's picture
Joined: 11/28/2005
Erica The Bully

Me thinks Erica forgets who pays his salary! While I don't necessarily disagree with his contention that this may be minor in the grand scheme of things, it is important to his know, the "little people" who pay his salary. A simple "we will take it under consideration" would be the classy thing to say. But then again, he has been a bully since day one of his term. As bad as Donnie needs to go, so does this classless blowhard.

mudcat's picture
Joined: 10/26/2005
Wait until Erica meets the retired Navy Seal

the Seal with the wife who was there and is a huge chicken-in-the-back-yard proponent. Wait until you meet him Erica. Shake hands if you dare. This Seal is not a "little person" at all. You will remember meeting him and you may think twice about demeaning our citizens. When he looks you in the eye and grins at you - you will understand.

Besides, 12 people is 4 times as many who came out trying to ban gas golf carts or get dogs on leashes. Don't the 12 chicken people qualify for the same floor time?

We all deserve time in front of city council. Get with the program Erica or go away. You are acting like the arrogant Democrats we see on TV - Biden, Reed, Pelosi. And some local ones - Haddix, Brown, etc.

Husband and Fat...
Husband and Father of 2's picture
Joined: 07/23/2012
Imker needs to learn how to show respect

Unbelievable that Imker has the audacity to say what he did. Mr. Imker, you chose to put your name in the hat and provide public service. I don't care how silly you think an item is. Show respect to your constituents.

Weren't you part of council that spent so much wasted time debating the removal of gas golf carts?

You owe these people a public apology. Or is that beneath you?

I would live to house a few chickens. Besides the fresh eggs, this provides an opportunity to teach our kids responsibility and how to properly care for a pet.

NUK_1's picture
Joined: 12/17/2007
Classless Imker

This is almost as bad as FC Commish Eric Maxwell telling ginga1414 to carry buckets of water across a road because her property was getting divided for the WFB. Very condescending and not what I expect at all from someone who willingly signed-up for the job twice now.

I'm not crazy about how long the issue was discussed myself, but mocking the people who showed up and how it was "just 12 people" and then questioning if city staff may have spent time studying the issue is over the top. "He's going to be upset." I don't care what you're upset about, Mr. Imker.

Imker is a disappointment to me. He presents himself as a budget guru and this,that, and the other, and I haven't really seen much so far. He's pretty good at hating Haddix and seems to have belligerence down pat, but that's about it. I posted here that he need a serious opponent in the last election, but alas, we got a Haddixite that ran against him and lost.

Husband and Fat...
Husband and Father of 2's picture
Joined: 07/23/2012

He was pissy the whole meeting. Perhaps he had gas? lol

Either way, its no excuse to be so rude to anyone. Yes, an hour is a long time to discuss chickens, but if its important to his constituents, than he should smile and listen. Then keep his snarky comments to himself.

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