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Decatur Resident Says Oakhurst Animals Okay

Decatur officials met with an Oakhurst property owner to discuss animals, property conditions.

City officials met Tuesday morning with an Oakhurst resident after her neighbor claimed the owner's .

Assistant City Manager David Junger and codes enforcement officer Cynthia Hardnett visited Stacy Reno's Feld Avenue home. They inspected her property to determine if the three goats, 29 chickens, and turkey were being kept unlawfully.

"They stated that the space I have provided was [sic.] appeared to be adequate," Reno wrote in response to emailed questions. "They also stated that my animals appeared well cared for & the space & accommodations appeared to be sanitary."

Reno also wrote that the officials instructed her to bring the premises into compliance with city codes. According to Reno, she was told to paint her house and to clear debris from yard areas. She also needs to get a permit for her chicken coop and she may be required to move it if officials determine that it is too close to neighboring residences.

Reno's neighbor Tanya Floyd declined to comment on Tuesday's inspection. On Monday she wrote to Decatur's mayor and city commissioners requesting that the city reconsider its opinion that pygmy goats like Reno's are pets, not livestock.

Floyd, who is an environmental attorney, believes Reno's property is a public health and safety nuisance. In the letter to Decatur officials Floyd wrote the Reno property's conditions violate multiple state, county, and municipal codes.

"I am requesting that the setback and housing requirements of [Decatur Code] Section 14-8 be strictly enforced so that no future nuisances, health hazards, or safety issues exist," Floyd wrote.

When reached by phone earlier today, Hardnett said she could not comment on the case without prior approval. Junger was in a meeting and could not be reached for immediate comment.

s jackson May 04, 2011 at 02:38 PM
I live in the city of decatur and if my neighbors had this many animals, domestic or livestock, I would be angry. If you want a rural lifestyle, buy a house with more property. I think it's great when some of my neighbors have a few chickens but this person has taken the rules too far. Sounds like the city of Decatur has given her an inch and she is going to take the mile. I really don't know why some Decatur residents are only out for themselves and don't recognize that their lifestyle impacts others. How rude!
Suzette gooch May 04, 2011 at 03:22 PM
sgooch I lived in oakhurst for 12 years,and found the people moving in had little consideration for others, only of themselves. I agree if you want farm animals, go live on a farm
Dana Lisa Young May 04, 2011 at 03:40 PM
I'm a friend of Stacy's and have been to her home. I think the City is being fair and reasonable asking her to make some improvements to stay within Code regulations. The yard is not landscaped, but it is not covered in animal waste and does not stink. (At least her "outdoor" animals aren't urinating and defacating in her neighbors' yards, unlike MY neighbors' outdoor cats and dogs.) Stacy cleans the coops regularly and uses a non-toxic product to reduce any odors. She has two small children and certainly does not want for her family or her animals to become diseased! I had no problem with my 4 year old daughter coming over to play with the goats or chickens. Stacy is willing to comply with code regulations, so I don't understand the comment about "City of Decatur giving her an inch and she is going to take the mile." I find it disturbing that her neighbor refused to approach Stacy directly about her grievances (pointedly ignoring Stacy's efforts to discuss the matter civilly with her) and attempt to work out a "neighborly" solution. That should always be the first step in any neighborhood issue. Stacy is a reasonable person and is involved in the community, both on a professional and volunteer level. She is not some wacky, reclusive animal hoarder. I think there is room for an urban agriculture model in City of Decatur. I'm just sorry my friend has to be dragged through the mud on this issue. There are better ways to propose a good solution everyone can live with.
Christine May 04, 2011 at 04:05 PM
I agree with you Dana. Stacy is a wonderful person and is being dragged through the mud. On the Tour of Homes, which showcased Oakhurst this year, around half the houses on the tour had chicken coops and chickens. Stacy's family and my family moved into the Oakhurst neighborhood around the same time around 10 yrs. ago. It has always been a fun, funky, and open-minded place to live. It makes me sad to think that as newer people move in we will become just another boring suburb.
Kristen Smith May 04, 2011 at 04:26 PM
As an Oakhurst resident for over 7 years, I can say that I LOVE the fact that there are neighbors with chicken coops and victory gardens intown. This kind of urban-agriculture renewal is not only very cool, but a positive benefit of the locavore, local sustainability model. I have neighbors who have already received eggs from Stacy's chickens & can attest that they are far superior to the ones you'll find at Kroger or Publix. How amazing it is that that you can get a dozen eggs from your neighbor and know exactly the kind of love and feed and care that went into the food you eat! I would also love to "rent" the pygmy goats for a few hours to help clear some of the kudzu in the alley next door to my yard. To me that sounds much better than coating my yard in toxic herbicides -- or the back-breaking labor it takes to rip that stuff out. :) It's my belief that Stacy is doing everything she can to comply to all rules & regulations, and she's working with the City in a swift & responsible manner. I know her both personally and professionally, and she's one of the most responsive and respectable people I know. I hope the City can help to work out an acceptable solution to all involved -- I just hate to see the derisive & unhelpful comments that have come out on message boards & blogs because of this. I wish we could all talk through the pros & cons in a more adult manner.
Cecilia Dominic May 04, 2011 at 05:53 PM
As a Decatur wine and food blogger, I fully support Stacy Reno and her urban farming efforts. It's sad that the anonymity of the internet makes people act in a less than humane manner. It would be helpful for people to put themselves in Stacy's shoes instead of making snap judgments along the lines of, "chickens belong on farms," especially since it has been repeatedly noted by different observers and the city that the animals are being kept in sanitary conditions with no smells and minimal noise. They actually sound less disruptive than my neighbors' kids and dogs! I'd rather have Stacy, her family, and her critters as neighbors than some cold-blooded lawyer who's out for trouble. Cecilia
Bob H. May 05, 2011 at 01:00 AM
Too many animals, too little space, too many problems created. The animals are pets and are not used for farm or sustainable reasons. Why does anyone need so many pets on small lot in the city close to neighbors? Why did Reno build coops so close to neighbor and violate the setback requirements? Is Floyd's house closer to coops than Reno's? Very disappointing if Decatur does not enforce the law. Has Floyd contacted county or state officials to enforce the law? Reno is clearly in violation of setback requirements & number of pets allowed by county. Reno needs to move to farm. Floyd should sue for pest costs and lowered property value.
Judy Glover May 05, 2011 at 04:04 AM
Once again, the Decatur Patch publishes hearsay. This article states what Reno says the City told her -- it's even the title of the article!!! Why doesn't the Patch get the truth straight from the horse's mouth? Why doesn't the Patch report facts instead of what somebody told somebody?? I don't blame Floyd for declining to comment. Also, where is the sustainability in this? Is Reno going to milk or slaughter the goats? What about the Turkey? Eggs are good, but how many can you eat a day if you've got 29 laying hens? Okay, so you say they are pets -- Dekalb only allows 3 pets per residence. Reno is already over her limit.
Renee DeGross Valdes May 05, 2011 at 12:15 PM
Judy: We are following the story. We do not publish hearsay. We are seeking comment of David Junger, just as the article states.
Renee DeGross Valdes May 05, 2011 at 03:10 PM
THIS CAME IN FROM DAVID JUNGER ... FYI. We are still working on this and will be drafting a letter to the owners of 149 Feld Avenue. I anticipate we will be finished with our letter by Friday. This is an active case and I believe that it would be inappropriate for me to comment on your questions before our investigation and follow up with the owners is complete. It is our intent to make sure the property is in compliance with all city ordinances and will address your questions below. Once we have completed our investigation, I will be happy to answer any questions that you may have. David Junger David Junger Assistant City Manager - Public Works City of Decatur 2635 Talley Street Decatur, GA 30030 Main(404) 377-5571 Fax(404) 378-4153 Cell(404) 516-0285 http://www.decaturga.com Decatur - certified by the Atlanta Regional Commission as one of the Region's FIRST "Gold" Level "Green Communities"
Judy Glover May 05, 2011 at 05:50 PM
Definition of hearsay: unverified, unofficial information gained or acquired from another and not part of one's direct knowledge. This story states what Reno says the City told her, not what the city said. Obviously, as your post below indicates, the city is not ready to make a statement. Of course, since you are friends with Reno, I am not surprised you published this one-sided story prematurely and without verification.
Renee DeGross Valdes May 05, 2011 at 06:35 PM
Judy: Patch is transparent. For the record, the Patch assistant regional editor posted yesterday's story and not that this makes a difference, but I was out sick and out of commission yesterday. And prior to yesterday's story, the Patch regional editor posted the "Flap Over Fowl," as I recused myself from the story out of fairness. Living in a small community, we all tend to cross paths one way or another. Like I said, Patch is transparent. I am transparent. I know both Stacy Reno and Tanya Floyd. Finally, journalists strive for excellence and accuracy. Patch contributor David Rotenstein reported this morning that he had received the David Junger email yesterday (Wednesday) at 10:30 a.m. It is with regret that I was too sick to discuss this with David yesterday -- not to mention he was out of pocket -- as I would have asked the other Patch editors to post it. If you have any questions, I am happy to answer any of them, 404-242-3328, THANKS. Renee Valdes
Bob H. May 05, 2011 at 11:00 PM
Why does Patch keep removing the reporter's comments? He is the only Patch reporter who has attempted to discover the real story and interview people who are not friends of Reno. I have lost respect for Patch.
Diane Loupe May 06, 2011 at 12:48 PM
To Bob H. or anyone else, feel free to email me or call me with any comments about "the real story," as I am writing a followup. My email is dloupe@mindspring.com and my phone is 404-377-8264. I'm chaperoning a field trip most of the afternoon, however. Because of the nature of Patch, it is difficult to be both close to the story and part of the community and have no relationships with the people we cover.
Lucinda Moores May 06, 2011 at 07:25 PM
Only a Friend can see Stacy's behavior as reasonable. She is attempting to turn her lot into a farm and that is NOT reasonable. She is very inconsiderate. Your Friend dragged herself through the mud with all her web postings. Really if she wants to be a farmer let her move to a farm area. Lucinda
s jackson May 07, 2011 at 07:55 PM
Does anyone else seem to think that the real story is that the City doesn't have more defined regulations on the type or number of animals. I LOVE that my neighbors have chickens, but they have 4 NOT 29 AND a turkey. If the city did rule that the goats are pets, how many is one houshold allowed to have in addition to the dogs and cats this particular resident already owns. I think all this hoopla should be that the city of Decatur doesn't have better guidelines for residents to follow and also would make it easier for the their staff to enforce. I say that the next council meeting should have discussion about better zoning on this issue as it will surely come up again.
Luke May 11, 2011 at 03:02 AM
Bob H makes some great points. I believe all parties concerned are animal lovers and are in favor of small scale urban sustainability but this taking it to an extreme. Three pets, a couple hens, some vegetables and thats it. Its not fair or sanitary to the animals or neighbors to have this many animals in the city.

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