Will Nashville’s proposed chicken ordinance affect property values?

Oct 28, 2011 by

Will Nashville’s proposed chicken ordinance affect property values?

The City Paper announced yesterday that a bill has been introduced to Metro Council to allow for chickens to be kept at Urban dwellings.  From a Real Estate perspective, I hear there is some trepidation about having any kind of livestock in densely populated neighborhoods because the smells, sounds, and sanitation could affect property values.  It’s a fair question and fortunately many cities have had chicken ordinances in affect for years and should be a good indicator of whether this is an issue.

First though,  let me clarify that there are currently well over 65 US cities including Chicago, Phoenix, Miami, NYC, Seattle, Baltimore, etc.. that allow back yard chickens with varying degrees of limitation and regulation.  Secondly, let me also clarify that hens are small, quiet, don’t require a lot of space, eat bugs and other pests, and in general are well suited for city living.  You cannot and should not compare them to say owning a cow or even dog for that matter, even their waste can be used in compost as opposed to doggie doo.

What about Real Estate?  I  spent about an hour looking on line for some evidence of chickens affecting property values and could not find a single article or example of this being an issue.  My more or less scientific approach was to then take this recent article from Forbes on the top 10 housing markets that are appreciating in value to see which if any of these cities allow for chickens.


Here are my results:

  • Indianapolis, IN -   Chickens are legal, no limits on amount and roosters are allowed as well.   Chickens are subject to normal pet ownership laws.
  • Springfield, MO -  Voted October 2010 to allow for backyard chickens
  • Denver, CO – chickens have been allowed for some time.  They even have an annual event the “tour de coup.”
  • Albuquerque, NM -  allows up to 15 chickens and one rooster.  You may even slaughter for food. (not my bag but noteworthy none the less)
  • Colorado Springs, CO – 10 chickens and no roosters.
  • San Antonio, TX – you may have up to 5 livestock animals (including sheeps, goats, pigs, cows) and of that number 3 can be chickens without a permit.
  • Nashville, TN -  TBD (seriously we are the only ones on here who don’t allow chickens)
  • Austin, TX – Up to 10 chickens allowed and they do a funky chicken coop tour
  • McAllen, TX -  you may have up to 6 per acre
  • Raleigh, NC – no limit on number of chickens kept

Interestingly enough, I thought for kicks that I would use this article on America’s ten sickest housing Markets to see if these cities allow for chickens.  I was actually a little shocked!  Of the 10 cities listed, only 3 of them allow backyard chickens.    I am not suggesting that chickens are a catalyst in driving market value but I think I have safely proven that they don’t appear to be hurting it!

If you would like more information the best source locally is UCAN (Urban Chicken advocates  of Nashville).  In addition,  here is a FAQ from another city that I think answers just about every question I have heard locally.   I realize this bill may not be for everybody but I always cringe when objections are raised that are inaccurate or uninformed.   Regardless of where you stand,  this will be up for debate and your council person is looking for your input in the coming weeks.

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