BG plan hatched to allow backyard chickens
Written by HAROLD BROWN Sentinel City Editor
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 09:42
A proposal to amend Bowling Green's zoning code to allow residents to keep up to five chickens has been referred to the city's Planning Commission.
Fourth Ward Council Member Greg Robinette, who heads council's Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee, introduced the proposal at the request of a citizen and asked that the matter be sent to the commission.
City Planning Director Heather Saylor said the item would appear on the commission's July 11 agenda.
The commission could decide to schedule a public hearing for its Aug. 1 meeting or possibly form a subcommittee for further study, as it has done for a few issues over the years. After a hearing the commission can decide whether or not to recommend the issue to council. While the commission's public hearing is optional, council is required to hold a public hearing, which requires a 30-day notice. Action by council probably would not come before its Sept. 17 meeting.
Several people told council they already have a few "backyard chickens" and some have been cited for non-compliance.
Dr. Sherri Thomas said she has five chickens, no rooster and does not sell or breed chickens. She said many cities across the U.S. allow backyard chickens, which she said provide health benefits as well as serve as pets. She said the eggs are healthier and have less cholesterol than those laid at hatcheries.
Roger Shope said he supports the change because it would allow his daughter to have a 4-H projects with chickens in town.
Former resident Penny Parker, who lives in eastern Wood County and has raised chickens for many years, said she supports the change. She is a 4-H leader and adviser. "Hens can be raised quite safely in town."
Laura Sanchez freely admitted she is a non-compliant resident of the city, having two Jersey Giant chickens named Thelma and Louise since 2009. She said the breed is noted for its longevity and quietness.
Under the proposal having up to five chickens in single-family zoning districts would come with several additional requirements:
• No rooster.
• No slaughtering of chickens outdoors.
• Chickens must have a hen house and a fenced outdoor enclosure of two-square-feet per chicken.
• Chickens cannot run free.
• Hen house must be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent accumulation of animal waste.
• No hen house or enclosure can be located closer that 20 feet to any dwelling on an adjacent lot and must comply with setback requirements for accessory buildings in the zoning code.
• Yearly fee of $10 for a permit.