Even though the rooster fingered at the start of a string of crowing complaints has been relocated, the Mobile City Council voted 5-2 to ban all others.
Only Council President Gina Gregory and Councilman John Williams voted against an amendment to place a rooster ban back into the city’s animal control law. Allegedly, a previous ban had been unintentionally stripped from the ordinance in April.
Oakleigh Garden District resident Ross Pritchard told councilors the crowing of his rooster named Rocky had led to complaints from neighbors. He said he relocated Rocky to Grand Bay in November, but at least two complaints followed. Pritchard asked councilors not to ban all roosters based on the actions of one.
Williams downplayed the problem and the two errant complaints, using an analogy that a judge would throw the case out if it went to court. During a pre-conference meeting, Williams attempted to go around the table and poll other councilors on how many rooster complaints they’d received.
“We’re passing a law and we don’t know if we have a problem,” he said.
Councilwoman Bess Rich said the two complaints could’ve been lodged before Rocky was relocated and might’ve been delayed through the process.
Dog River Drive residents Travis Raynor and his wife Kathy, who are members of the Mobile Bay Area Backyard Chicken Club, spoke in opposition to the ban, as did Kathy Odom, who said she grew up in the country.
“A rooster is music to my ears,” she told councilors. “I’m here to ask y’all to save the roosters.”
Rooster advocates told councilors the existing noise ordinance was designed to regulate excessive pet or animal noise, without banning roosters specifically.
But Oakleigh resident Rainer Claussen said she and her husband had lost sleep because of a rooster in the neighborhood. She said they tried to ignore it at first, but lost their patience. Claussen said she and her husband are both professionals, who wake up and go to work everyday. She said she is worried because they are about to make renovations to their house and won’t be able to stay there if roosters aren’t outlawed.
“If roosters are kept legal we will have to sell our property,” she told councilors.
Choice neighborhood grant concerns
Maysville resident Cussetta Jackson said she was concerned about the impact a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development planning grant would have on the community.
She said after attending a meeting discussing the Mobile Housing Board’s transformation plan for the housing complexes of Boykin Tower, R.V. Taylor and Thomas James Place she was worried the redevelopment would mean moving black families out and replacing them with those of other races.
“Most people will be moved out and that’s wrong,” Jackson said. “We’ve been here all these years …. We don’t want this done to us and we’re not going to standby and allow that to happen.”
Gregory told Jackson the project was being handled by MHB and neither the council, nor the mayor had any authority over the federal grant program.
The HUD grant that MHB was approved for earlier this year is for help planning the proposed $750 million project on the city’s south side neighborhoods. The plan does include tearing down of the current complexes and replacing them with both low-income and market-rate housing. The new mixed-use, mixed-income spaces will include retail because it’s a public-private partnership between MHB and developers.