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Boonsboro considers allowing chickens in residential zones

July 06, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com

Boonsboro is considering an ordinance that would allow residents to raise chickens on their properties under certain conditions, officials said Tuesday.

The Town Council voted 5-1 to introduce the ordinance, with council member Natalie Mose opposed. The council agreed that a public hearing on the ordinance would be scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 1 and that the council would wait until its Sept. 6 meeting to vote on the ordinance to allow plenty of time for public comment.

The measure would amend the town’s zoning ordinance to allow up to three hens per lot to be kept in the town’s residential, suburban residential and rural residential districts, Town Planner Megan Clark said. No roosters would be allowed, and the hens would have to be kept within an enclosure at least 20 feet from property lines, Clark said. Those keeping hens would have to register with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, she said.

In some areas, homeowners associations might prohibit the practice, even if zoning allows for it, Clark added.

Clark said the measure was proposed in response to requests from several residents interested in raising chickens for eggs in their backyards.

The Boonsboro Planning Commission recommended approval of the ordinance, Clark said.

Council Member Cynthia Kauffman said she already heard objections to the idea from some residents and hoped to get additional feedback at the public hearing.

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Editor's note: This story was changed Wednesday, July 6, to correct the time of the public hearing on the ordinance.

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