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More chicken houses likely to be built in south Grady

Grady County could soon be home to 12 more chicken houses, not in northern Grady County, but in the southern section of the county.
Code Enforcement Officer Larry Ivy briefed commissioners Tuesday night on a plan under consideration that would call for the construction of as many as 12 chicken houses on a 260 acre tract on Sherman Road in south Grady County approximately halfway between GA Hwy. 111 South and Faircloth Road, next door to a motocross track.
The county’s chicken house ordinance requires a 250 foot setback from the property line and 1,500 foot setback from a neighboring residence.
“How many acres would someone have to have to build four chicken houses and meet the setback requirements? 100 acres?” Commission Chairman Charles Norton asked Tuesday night.
Ivy said it would depend on where the houses are situated. He also said that Cagles and Sanderson Farms would no longer put in just four houses, according to Ivy, the new minimum is six.
The county’s code enforcement officer said he has been told as many as 30 new chicken houses could soon be built in the county.
On Sherman Road, Ivy said there are two houses that are located within the 1,500 foot setback requirements and one of the property owners has agreed to sign a consent form allowing the chicken house to be built within the setback.
“If they can get those forms signed, they’ve got that property set,” Ivy said.
Ivy also reported that the houses being proposed to be built in south Grady County were being put in by Cagles and the dimensions of their chicken houses are different from the dimensions of houses put in by Sanderson Farms.
“At least they’re not all going into my district,” Commissioner Ray Prince joked.
Commissioner Elwyn Childs said there are two sides to the story on chicken houses. According to Childs, those who have them are “proud they’ve got them” and he noted “they can make the difference in making a profit or not.”
“Neighbors who don’t have them don’t like the smell, but their living is not coming from them,” Childs said. A former hog farmer, Childs said when people complained about the smell of his hog farm he responded, “It smells like money to me.”
Chairman Norton offered, “I would rather have a chicken house next to me than a motocross track.”
During the meeting Tuesday night, a public hearing was held for a proposed amendment to the specific land use regulations to incorporate the county’s chicken house ordinance into the land use regulations. This would provide for a variance procedure related to chicken houses that was not addressed in the chicken house ordinance, which was approved many years before the land use regulations were adopted.
The lone pubic comment on the amendment came from Peter Wright who said Grady County was turning into a “dumping ground for projects other counties don’t want” and he said now was the time for the citizens to “speak up.”
According to Wright, the motocross industry has been destructive to neighborhoods and communities in the county and he warned that chicken houses would be equally destructive.
Following the close of the public hearing, the board voted unanimously to adopt the proposed amendment as presented.

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