Cobb commission seeks input on immigration check program and backyard chickens
by Jon Gillooly
February 12, 2013 01:32 AM | 2984 views | 7 7 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cobb Board of Commissioners will conduct the second of three public hearings today on proposed code changes for backyard chickens and the use of a federal program that checks for illegal immigrants on the county payroll.

Anyone who wants to speak to commissioners about the code proposals has three minutes to do so.

Tuesday’s meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the boardroom at 100 Cherokee St. in Marietta.

The final public hearing, after which commissioners are expected to take a vote, is scheduled for Feb. 26.

The chicken ordinance, proposed by commissioners Helen Goreham and Bob Ott, would require people who want backyard poultry on lots smaller than 2 acres to obtain a special land-use permit.

Rob Hosack, the county’s community development director, said typically the county charges a $1,000 fee for filing special land-use permits. But both Goreham and Ott have spoken about reducing the fee.

“That fee is set because there are a number of things that have to be looked at by the county staff as far as outside engineers go versus with backyard poultry that wouldn’t be necessary because there wouldn’t need to be a whole lot of engineering studies done,” Hosack said.

Another controversial code change proposed by Ott and Commissioner JoAnn Birrell would require contractors doing business with the county to apply for federal IMAGE certification, which stands for ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers.

IMAGE is a federal program that audits the hiring records of a company or government to determine whether people on the entity’s payroll are lawfully employed.

That proposal has commissioners divided in a similar way they were over the controversial 2011 property tax vote.

During the property tax hike vote, Republicans Ott and Birrell voted against the tax hike, while Republicans Goreham and Tim Lee voted for it. Similarly, while Ott and Birrell are pushing the IMAGE proposal, Lee and Goreham have raised objections to it.

Commissioner Lisa Cupid, a Democrat who took office in January, is expected to be the swing vote on the matter.

One of the concerns Goreham has raised with the IMAGE program is what happens in the event of an emergency if the county needs a contractor for repairs but can’t find one who has applied for IMAGE certification.

Hosack said the code proposal addresses this concern by allowing for the hiring of a contractor who hasn’t applied with IMAGE in an emergency.

Goreham has also voiced concerns that the county could lose its competitive edge if it is forced to use only IMAGE certified contractors.

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February 12, 2013
I ain't paying no stinking back taxes!!!
February 12, 2013
If a company wants to get a contract, emergency or not, they should not be using illegal labor. It's that damn simple.

Thanks, MDJ, for reminding us who voted for the TAX HIKE in the midst of the longest recession in recent history. We should not forget.
Joseph Pond
February 12, 2013
As we have said from the beginning, there is no logical reason to ban poultry on less than two acres. There is also no logical reason to require a permit to own them either. No other pets require permits. The ordinances in Chapter 10 of the Code keeps Animals in check, as it should be. Property Rights do not extend past property lines. One's property should not be governed by the likes and dislikes of one's neighbors. County ordinances are required by the State Constitution to be 'clearly reasonable', and 'not inconsistent' of the Constitution, which grants 'No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property'. To cater ordinances to the simple dislikes of some people is clearly unreasonable, not to mention deprivation of others choice of life, their liberty, and the use of their property.
February 12, 2013
No roosters, please. Surely you agree with that.
Please just move
February 12, 2013
we are all tired of hearing about chickens.
B Norman
February 12, 2013
No Roosters, no permit or paperwork. it's simple: move chickens to the jurisdiction of animal control if an issue (noise, smell, unkept) comes up

Thank you for pressing the fight for common sense!
Buy 2 Acres Already
February 13, 2013
You moved to Cobb and did not follow the law and now you want everyone to accept a chicken coup next door. Maybe if you spent more time working instead of writing letters and complaining to the commission about your law breaking, you could afford the two acres you were supposed to have to raise chickens. You and a few of your friends who hate any rules are trying to push your agenda for special rights down our throats, which the vast majority of homeowners in this county are opposed to. Enough already!
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