By Sara Korash-Schiff
Chickens will not be living in Lexington anytime soon.
The chicken ordinance proposed 14 months ago, which hatched innumerable bumper stickers, chicken puns and hours of city council time, was defeated 4-2 on Thursday night, Oct. 18.
Council member George Pryde and council member Chuck Smith cast the only pro-chicken votes. Pryde said the controversy was about something larger than chickens. He said it revealed a division within the council over competing images of the future of Lexington.
Councilman Bob Lera spoke against the ordinance, claiming human health is threatened by high levels of lead in laying hen’s eggs and by diseases caused by bacteria from chickens, such as salmonella.
He also said he didn’t see enough reasons to make such a change. “I cannot support this ordinance because there is no compelling need and no overwhelming support,” said Lera.
Council members Marylin Alexander and David Cox, members who were less sure about their decisions in the past, both ended up coming to the same conclusion. “This is an ordinance that at this time I don’t feel comfortable supporting,” said Alexander.
Council member Mary Harvey-Halseth also voted against the ordinance. Mayor Mimi Elrod, who is being challenged by Harvey-Halseth in her reelection bid on Nov. 6, was not eligible to vote, since the mayor is only given tie-breaking votes.