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Citys OKs raising fowl
Airport authority members appointed
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David Corley and his fellow Covington residents will be able to keep and raise chickens in the city limits.

The Covington City Council unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance Monday night that will allow city residents to keep chickens and certain other fowl. One chicken is allowed for every 1,000 square feet, up to a maximum of 12 birds. Fowl must be penned and the pens must be at lease 15 feet from all property lines. No male birds will be allowed; neither will guineas and geese.

Chickens will only be allowed in Neighborhood Residential 1 and 2 zoning districts.

Corley keeps nine chickens on his quarter-acre lot on Hartsook Drive. At the council's Feb. 7 meeting, he had asked council members to allow him to keep his chickens, because they were his pets and had been therapeutic for him as he sought to recover from strokes. He couldn't hide a wide smile after the council's vote.

"We did it. We did it," he said to a few audience members after the vote

Airport authority members appointed
The council unanimously appointed seven members to the Covington Municipal Airport Authority.

Wayne Digby, John Howard, Tereta Johnson and James Knight were appointed to four-year terms, while Charles Hill Morris Jr., Jared Rutberg and Art Schlueter III were appointed to three-year terms. The seven members were chosen from 21 applicants. Discussions took place in executive session, which was allowed because the authority members fall under a special jurisdiction as pseudo city employees according to the authority's bylaws.

"They all bring unique skills and talents to make a diverse group," Mayor Kim Carter said Tuesday in an e-mail. "All members were proactive and sought out the position. Their sense of volunteerism to Covington and passion for aviation is unbridled. We look forward to working with them as they shape our airport and help related industry grow."

The authority's first meeting will be at 5 p.m. Monday at the airport. The members will discuss their backgrounds and the program of work for the authority.

In other airport news, the Federal Aviation Administration and Georgia Department of Transportation reimbursed Covington $811,081 for land around the airport that the city had purchased previously. The city's final cost was $42,688.

The land must eventually be developed for airport-related uses or the city must return the money.

City ponders public transit
The council voted not to apply for a state grant that would have partially funded a bus transit system for disabled residents and seniors. One grant would have taken these residents to the Park-and-Ride lot at Church In The Now, while the other grant would have taken them to medical appointments.

The council voted 1-4 against each grant, with Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams abstaining from both votes. Councilwoman Janet Goodman was the lone vote in favor.

Other council members expressed concern because the program would cost the city at least $50,000 annually, not including the cost of fuel or vehicle maintenance. Councilman Chris Smith said he also did not want the city to be obligated to pick up any county residents.

City Manager Steve Horton asked the council if they would be interested in exploring a bus transit system for only Covington residents, and council members indicated they would be in favor of exploring that.

Horton asked grant writer Randy Conner to begin researching a city transit system and its costs.