Fort Mill Family, Neighbors Fighting To Save Chickens They Say Are Simply Loving Pets

FORT MILL, S.C. — A Fort Mill mom and dad have a very large family, two kids and 8 chickens.

They’ve lived in Foxwood for three years now, a neighborhood that is in the county and does not have an HOA.

But now, there’s trouble in their backyard. The county claims their chickens are in violation following a noise complaint.

Since March, Alicia Byers chickens have brought so much egg-citement for her children, neighbors and their families.

“The kids are obsessed with the chickens, they play with them everyday, Bailey picks them up, they are her friends, we feed them treats, every time we have people over, this is where we play,” Byers said.

But in just two days, Byers and her family will be forced to get rid of her precious hens.
She’s one of 15 families who have chickens in the Foxwood neighborhood – only she received a written notice in the mail from York County after someone made a noise complaint.

“As long as we can show that these are our pets and we have neighbors affirming that, we do feel that this can go our way if there is open minded that yes, absolutely, these are our pets,” Byers said.

Byers has already filed an appeal. That will be heard in early September by the board of zoning appeals.

She says the support from neighbors has been overwhelming.

They’ve written 30 letters to petition that pets – chickens and even horses – are allowed.

“Earlier you saw all the kids with bicycles, they run through here, pedal through here all the time, and they stop, they play with chickens a little bit, got on their bikes and took off again, its an educational opportunity for them,” Neighbor Michael McClain said. “They see that there’s life outside brick and mortar.”

County leaders say the property in question is zoned for residential conservation 1, which does not allow the keeping or raising of poultry.

“In the past, we would have gone to somebody and talk to them if we had a problem and now we’ve had somebody move in from the outside that just doesn’t understand what kind of neighborhood we have here,” Neighbor James Knowlton said.

“That’s why people move here. They find out we are one huge family,” Robert Dillow said.

In a community that welcomes diverse wildlife even down to potbelly pigs, neighbors say it just wants those in charge to come out and see it for themselves.

“To live in a place where people are not only saying they support you, but doing the hard work of showing up, sacrificing time, coming by to talk to us, asking us what we need,” Byers said. “It’s just a breath of fresh air, it’s overwhelming that people would prioritize helping a neighbor that they may or may not know personally but they’ve seen on this journey.”

“It would be a tragedy that would mark the children of this neighborhood of all their lives if chickens had to go now,” Knowlton said.

The Byers family also started a petition on change.org

They have almost 200 signatures from folks who say the birds are the family’s pets and should be allowed to stay.

The Byers originally had two roosters who they said did make some noise and the family no longer owns them, but this came before the county received the other noise complaint.

 

 

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