Contact - Volunteer - Contribute - (302) 468-6024

Bob Weiner
Home About Bob Legislation & Essays 2nd District News Articles Calendar Photo & Video Gallery 2018 Campaign Contact Bob
Bob Weiner News  

11/26/2009
Backyard chicken ordinance fails. Councilman Weiner proposes compromise to protect civic association deed restricted communities - News Journal

Delaware law: Backyard chicken fight not a scratch
Hockessin woman vows to fight on despite County Council vote
BY ANGIE BASIOUNY • THE NEWS JOURNAL • NOVEMBER 26, 2009

Kathleen Hildebrand, the Hockessin woman who tried to get New Castle County to change its laws to allow small flocks of backyard chickens, is ready to ruffle more feathers.

County Council ended months of back and forth on the issue with a 10-3 vote Tuesday against an ordinance that would have permitted up to six chickens on a half-acre to one acre of residential land. The law currently outlaws farm animals on less than an acre.

Hildebrand, who keeps four hens in a tidy coop in the corner of her backyard, said she's not giving up.

She admonished council for failing to be progressive and recognize the trend of urban farming, a movement by city dwellers and suburbanites to grow their own food to ensure its healthfulness and live more sustainably.

Hildebrand suffers from health problems and keeps hens for their fresh, chemical free eggs. Her cause drew wide-ranging support from residents who believe in the idea, and from poultry specialists who confirmed the rising popularity of urban farming.

"It's incredibly unfortunate that they do not understand the scope of what I was looking for," Hildebrand said. "It's about everybody's right to pursue a healthy lifestyle and feel like the king and queen of their property."

Councilman Bill Tansey, who sponsored the ordinance on behalf of Hildebrand, voted yes along with councilmen John Cartier and Bill Powers.

Councilman Robert Weiner was one of the most vocal critics of the measure, presenting a two-page analysis of the ordinance that focused on the "unfunded mandate" it would bring to deed-restriction communities. Deed restrictions prohibiting the animals trump any county laws, and conflict over enforcement of deed restrictions could result in neighbors dragging each other to court, he said.

"I'm concerned about respecting the wishes of what I see as a split constituency," he said. "I'm not opposed to this concept. But I have a broad array of constituents to represent, and there are two competing public policies here."

Councilman Timothy Sheldon agreed, saying he e-mailed civic organizations within his district to get input. He received 105 responses against the ordinance and 29 in favor.

"I literally let my district vote on this ordinance because I did not have strong feelings on this," Sheldon said.

Ron Hildebrand, Kathleen's husband, said he believes opposing council members were posturing for election votes because the legislation drawn up by Tansey stated the change would not affect deed-restricted neighborhoods.

"We're all being held captive in the county because of a few neighborhoods with deed restrictions," he said. "They all seemed to be gathering around that."

Weiner said Wednesday he would be willing to sponsor a different version of the ordinance if the Hildebrands would reach out to state legislators. The Delaware Department of Agriculture  requires anyone keeping poultry to register with the state because of concerns about avian flu. Weiner wants the state to amend the application form to include a section in which residents signify they are not flouting deed restrictions.

The Hildebrands said they won't bother.

"I have no interest in people with deed restrictions," Kathleen Hildebrand said. "I'm appalled that they are considered the only citizens in New Castle County. Apparently, the rest of us are nothing."

So what's next for the Hildebrands' hens? The couple said they have no intention of removing the cluckers from their property.

"It's Oprah and Dr. Phil," said Kathleen, whose cause is garnering media attention.

Contact Angie Basiouny at 324-2796 or abasiouny@delawareonline.com.

Back to the News Summary

Have news? Please contact me!

HOT TOPICS:
Important Safety Tips
File a Property Complaint
Report a Pothole to DelDOT
NCC Open Checkbook
Presentations to Council
Redevelopment
NCC Council Video
New Castle County Finances
NCC Public Safety
Stoltz Developments
Other Development Proposals
NCC Clearwater Disconnect Program
Brandywine 100 History
Anti-Graffiti Brigade
Talley Day Bark Park
Claymont
Search BobWeiner.com:

Latest News:
7/24/2018
  Councilman announces details of redevelopment at former AstraZeneca site
7/18/2018
  We are not developers: Under new ownership the DuPont Country Club will emphasize community
6/9/2018
  Bob Weiner Interview: Preserving & Repurposing Brandywine Hundred and Beaver Valley

New Castle County Comprehensive Plan
How to Attend a County Council Meeting
Info on Planning Board Public Hearings
Time Limits For Speakers And
Standards For Review Of Applications
Directions to Reads Way

 

 

Give Bob a "like" on Facebook:


   
Latest News:
7/24/2018
  Councilman announces details of redevelopment at former AstraZeneca site
7/18/2018
  We are not developers: Under new ownership the DuPont Country Club will emphasize community
6/9/2018
  Bob Weiner Interview: Preserving & Repurposing Brandywine Hundred and Beaver Valley
Upcoming events:
County Council meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday evenings of each month
"There was such a lack of oversight from the previous council. The only people who questioned anything were Chris Coons and Bob Weiner."

John Flaherty
Formerly associated with Common Cause of Delaware

Paid for by Friends of Bob Weiner - www.BobWeiner.com - (302) 468-6024 - Volunteer - Contribute
Friends of Bob Weiner is the political candidate committee that accepts contributions on behalf of New Castle County Councilman Robert S. Weiner.

Facebook Twitter Youtube