Candidates speak out at BOC forum

Photo by Tori Boone

Photo by Tori Boone

LAWRENCEVILLE — Monday’s final stop on the Board of Commissioners’ listening tour around Gwinnett County included two of the more unique events from the months-long series of meetings — an unofficial visit from the four commission chair candidates, and a lengthy discussion about chickens.

In the waning minutes of the two-hour forum, chairman candidate Will Costa got in line behind other residents, patiently waiting for his turn at the microphone. Fellow candidates Charlotte Nash, Duane Kissel and Larry Gause (the latter two in “no airport expansion” T-shirts) followed suit.

In addition to further addressing specific questions raised earlier in the forum, each candidate expressed their oft-noted stances against expansion of Briscoe Field.

Costa initially addressed concerns raised by a dozen or so residents donning light yellow shirts, pushing for the right to be able to raise backyard chickens.

“I would encourage anyone to look into the neighborhood associations before you buy a home because those are your neighbors and they set the rules,” Costa said.

District 4 Commissioner John Heard, who grew up on a farm himself, balked at the idea of allowing chickens in Gwinnett’s residential communities.

“Livestock is an agrarian function. Farm animals are supposed to be on a farm,” Heard said. “An urban environment, where you have a half to a third of an acre, is no environment for agricultural livestock.”