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County says yes to gold, no to chickens

POSTED: February 9, 2012 6:03 p.m.

Effingham County commissioners are going ahead with an ordinance regulating precious metals dealers — but they scratched off a proposal to allow up to four chickens in R-1 zoned homes.

Commissioners voted 6-0 to adopt the precious metals ordinance requested by Effingham Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie. McDuffie asked for the rule after law enforcement authorities had problems tracking down and recovering items taken in robberies.

The stolen items are being taken to precious metals dealers and being melted down before investigators can inspect them, authorities fear. With the new ordinance, gold dealers and other precious metals vendors have to hold onto those items for 30 days and have to pay a $25 registration fee.

But commissioners, presented with an ordinance amendment that would have allowed homeowners in R-1 zoning to have up to four chickens in their yard, voted it down unanimously.

Commissioners tabled the amendment at their last meeting, hoping for more public input. But zoning administrator George Shaw said he got no further public comments, though commissioners said they heard a few things.

“I got a comment,” Commissioner Reggie Loper said. “They said we ran out of something to do.”

 Commissioner Steve Mason said the calls he received were not in favor of the amendment.

“We need to stick with the zoning as is,” he said. “If somebody wants a conditional use, they can appear for that.”

Mason also asked that the ordinance committee have someone appear before the commissioners the next time they have a recommendation.

“Maybe have someone from the committee that is presenting this maybe appear and make the case as to why this is something people want,” he said.

Commissioner Phil Kieffer said his biggest concern was the cost of animal control in having to enforce it.

The amendment made it through the planning commission on a 3-2 vote.

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