“Don’t be a chicken, legalize chickens.”

That’s the message one proponent for backyard chickens in Dunwoody gave the city Planning Commission at its April 12 meeting in the anticipated debate over legalizing poultry for residents.

And the commissioners, without much serious debate, unanimously voted to recommend the City Council approve an ordinance to allow residents living in single-family homes to keep up to eight hens – no roosters or other fowl – in backyard coops. The ordinance is expected to be taken up by the City Council on April 24.

Ten people spoke in favor of legalizing backyard chickens at the Planning Commission meeting and no one spoke against. Two of the pro-chicken speakers were Girl Scouts Lauren Fitzgerald and Chloe Fenster, who have been collecting signatures and speaking with Councilmembers Lynn Deutsch and John Heneghan to bring up the issue.

Those who spoke in favor said allowing residents to keep backyard chickens offer families the option of having fresh eggs to eat and also to teach sustainability.

Planning Commission members tweaked the proposed ordinance that now states seeking to have chickens from the city is an administrative permitting process; the maximum number of chickens allowed is eight; that if a homeowner who has chickens moves that permit does not stay with the property.

Commissioners also deleted the line “Chickens shall not be slaughtered on the premises” so that if homeowners do want to kill a chicken to eat, they are not required to take it elsewhere for slaughter.

Those who want to have chickens at their home will be required to submit a site plan to the city for review, including the design of the coop; and no chickens will be allowed in lots less than 10,000 feet.

The City Council in 2010 voted 4-3 against allowing backyard chickens.

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.