Morning Notes

by March 13, 2012 at 8:24 am 3,016 36 Comments

Arlington Wins Diversity Award — The National League of Cities has presented Arlington with its 2012 Cultural Diversity Award. The awards showcase “examples of how cities achieve excellence in diversity, promotes the positive results of ‘total community collaboration’ and honors community leadership in developing creative and effective programs to improve cultural diversity.” [Arlington County]

Hen Raising Critics Speak Out — Critics of a proposal to allow backyard hen raising in Arlington spoke out during Saturday’s County Board meeting. “Send it to the slaughterhouse,” civic activist Robert Atkins said of the proposal, which is supported by a group called the Arlington Egg Project. Critics say backyard hens could produce noise, odors and neighborly conflicts, among other ill effects. [Sun Gazette]

Hagel to Speak at Marymount Commencement — Arlington-based Marymount University announced yesterday that former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) will be its 2012 commencement speaker. Hagel will address Marymount grads at D.A.R. Constitution Hall on Sunday, May 20.

Flickr pool photo by Divaknevil

  • Junior

    Unfortunately, hen houses are antithetical to suburban living. I would describe their impact on a neighbor as minimal, but that’s merely my perception. Suburban living is all about creating an environment that satifies the broadest possible cross-section of the population so that we may live harmoniously in this incredibly dense community.

    People ignoring this basic dynamic of where they live is at the heart of most of the controversies in Arlington. Someone wants to expand their footprint, be it with outdoor music, hen houses, mega mansions, parking freedoms, or some other intrusive activity, and they get furious when they are challenged over what they view as a mild expression of their individuality.

    Sorry, but the reality of modern day Arlington is that it’s a great place for conformists and collectivists. We’re great at recycling, transit, schooling, health care, charitable works of all sorts, etc. But the tradeoff is our individuality. If the equation doesn’t work for someone, I suggest they should really move someplace where their priorities are more in line with the prevailing environment. Because Arlington will collapse into a mess if it tries to accommodate everyone’s diverse interests and personal pursuits.

    • foghorn_leghorn

      you’re way off, i say you’re way off this time son!

      • Arlingtonian

        Hehehe, this made me choke on my coffee.

    • Mr. Brown

      And that, ladies and gentlemen, it the soul of the Democratic Party right there: “We’ll all live together better if we’re all less free.”

      • CourthouseChris

        [rolls eyes] so what’s the soul of the Republican party “me me me me me me me me me me me me me”?

        • CW

          No, it’s me me me me and my rich friends.

          I’ve never owned any hens, but my wife knows the Perdue family.

          • Mitt

            I have some close friends who are commercial poultry farmers.

          • CW

            I’ve never owned any poultry farms, but I’ve liquidated the assets and fired the entire payrolls of a couple of poultry companies…

          • nom de guerre

            Because the trees on their property weren’t the right height?

          • CW

            No, their grass wasn’t the right color.

      • drax

        Um, that’s the definition of civilization, dude. To live together, we have to have a system of laws that by definition limit our freedom a little. You should have figured that out by now, Mr. Brown.

        • Josh S

          +1. The American myth of the self-reliant cowboy is hurting more than it is helping at this point. We’re all in this together, whether you like it or not.

        • Burger

          True. But, what Junior is stating is that the onus is on the those that want to change the rules to provide a reason for why hens there should be a reduction in the space need to raise chickens.

          Right now, there is no out right bank on you being able to have any chickens on your property – the hen house needs to be 100 feet off the property line. They want that reduced to 50 or to 0. I guess I don’t want to live next to something that could cause a widespread pandemic given the absolute foulness of birds.

          • CourthouseChris

            “could cause a widespread pandemic given the absolute foulness of birds”

            Didn’t Louis Pasteur disprove spontaneous generation like 150 years ago?

    • hens now!

      We have (illegal) chickens in our ‘hood right now. Nobody minds.

      • LP

        Nobody? Really?

    • Josh S

      “suburban” does not equal “incredibly dense.” Maybe you meant to say “hen houses are antithetical to urban living?”

  • Patrick

    individual liberty and personal responsibility

  • Robert Atkins

    Get off my lawn you stupid kids!

  • TeaPartyPatriot

    These guys (Pebley, Carpenter and Atkins) seem like the types that won’t be happy until they control every aspect of others lives. They want the govenment to enforce their notion of harmony on everyone rather than let individuals work things out. It’s very sad.

    • Josh S

      I wish you could arrange your views in a coherent manner that reflects the reality of a society of humans living together in close proximity.
      For example, how would “letting individuals work things out” work when it comes to keeping chickens in your backyard?

      • SteamboatWillie

        I’m agnostic for the most part on the issue of chickens in backyards, but trying to make the issue into some sort of universal indictment of the Democratic party is absurd.

        • CourthouseChris

          Agreed, and the irony is that I doubt it’s the Republicans of Arlington county that are going to be raising these chickens. Granted backyard chicken raising isn’t really a political trait – but I’ll it doesn’t really fit their m.o.

          • Lloyd

            What is it about Republicans that makes you think they would not raise chickens?

          • Clarendon

            I agree, it is silly to make a political party thing out of this. In fact, the people I know that keep chickens in urbanized areas – York County VA and up in Troy, NY are either Republican or Libertarian.

  • JimPB

    Government’s primary concerns should be with education, public health and public safety. That’s quite a plate full for finite resources to address adequately.

    • Josh S

      And yet Arlington is extremely well educated, generally of good health and does not suffer from public safety threats that are unusual for a community of 130,000. With these things under control, if a group of citizens approaches asking to change zoning regulations to accommodate chickens, it seems a worthwhile use of time to examine the request and the related issues before rendering a decision.


  • Undereducated

    Backyard hens are legal in San Francisco, so why not Arlington? What could happen?

    • bob

      In that case, we should permit them, but only in Rosslyn…. since Rosslyn reminds us all of San Francisco.

  • JimPB

    Regulate backyard hens only insofar as there are real public health issues.

  • soarlslacker

    The problem might be that people do want to see or smell chicken poop. People in single familiy homes will not not want to see it, smell it, hear it. My guess is that people in multi-unit dwellings would raise their hens inside of their apartments or condos…based upon the rules of their building. My neighbors can’t manage their children and their lawns…if they get hens there will be hens wandering the streets like the stray children do now. My guess is there will a hen in everypot becuse who is going to catch a hen and take it to AWLA so it can be reunited with its owner? If you wander in my yard and have an accident…I think you’ll be dinner.

    • LP

      Dinner… hee hee hee hee.

  • LP

    Hens are farm animals. It is 2012. Arlington is an urban area. Not even suburban. Farm animals belong in rural settings.

    No one wants to be woken at dawn on a weekend because their next door neighbor has a hen making tons of noise.

    And if they are not maintained properly, there could be a health hazard. Would the county need to hire regulators? They have enough trouble getting traffic lights working (see discussion from yesterday about SB George Mason @ Lee Hwy).

  • Arlingtonian

    Wait till the people with hen houses start poisoning the critters that are raiding the farm. PETA will be furious.

  • BoredHouseWife

    get one of those rolling hen houses, and all will be fine.

  • Ashton Heights

    Our daughter and son-in-law have hens in their backyard in Charlottesville. From their house, the hens are noisy (but not as bad as roosters would be). The hens are tolerable there in a much bigger yard than we have in our Arlington neighborhood. I think hens in Arlington would be pretty intolerable.


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