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Fenton Council Asks for Proposal on Chickens

Members discuss possible restrictions; Lockwood favors yearly inspections and a fee for inspections.

The Fenton City Council isn't trying to ruffle any feathers, but is taking a look at a city chicken ordinance.

After some discussion, Fenton council members have asked for a proposed ordinance on the keeping of chickens in the city. Some support the ordinance the way it is written, while others say they believe residents should be able to keep hens — with restrictions.

Fenton resident Malissa Bossardet, a mother of three who lives on South Adelaide Street, is asking to keep her chickens. The animals supply organic eggs for her family, Bossardet has said, but keeping them is in violation of Fenton’s current ordinance.

Fenton council discussed the keeping of chickens in the city, at the end of Monday’s work session. City Manager Lynn Markland supplied council with copies of ordinances from other communities, to show different examples, he said. Communities are making different decisions on the issue of chickens within their borders.

Ordinances vary greatly by muncipalities around the state.

In Clare, no one can keep a rooster. Two hens are allowed. Ann Arbor’s ordinance states someone must receive permission from the city first, on the condition the resident has written consent from all residential property owners adjacent to them. No chickens are allowed in the village of Milford. Mayor Pro Tem Cheryl King referred to the city of Milan’s ordinance, which prohibits the keeping of roosters and requires chickens to be kept at least 25 feet from any home on a neighboring property.

The city’s planning commission has referred the issue to council, said Mayor Sue Osborn.

Councilman Michael Piacentini said he’d like to see a proposal of some type for Fenton.

Osborn said the city attorney needs to review the issue and create a proposed ordinance. This process will take some time, and the issue isn’t likely to appear on Monday’s city council agenda.

Councilwoman Pat Lockwood said she favors allowing a maximum of three to four hens. She referred to the village of Lake Isabella’s ordinance, which specifies setbacks on the property and requirements for fencing. Lockwood would like to see yearly inspections if chickens are allowed in Fenton, and a fee for these.

Councilman Ben Smith said he supports Fenton’s ordinance, which prohibits chickens, as it is written.

Councilman Les Bland, on the other hand, said he has no problem with people keeping hens. Residents having their own eggs is a good thing, as long as the city’s ordinance is well-written, he believes. But Bland doesn’t support the keeping of roosters, he said.

Councilman Brad Jacob said he supports chicken keeping but doesn’t see any reason for roosters. He would limit it to five hens. The animals don’t smell, aren’t noisy and are easier to take care of than a dog — and a lot less hassle, Jacob said.

Markland asked whether council wanted to consider other types of farm animals, while it is discussing chickens.

Smith mentioned goats.

Bland replied that the chicken question has been brought to council, and that of other animals has not.

Jacob said he believes council needs to take it as it comes.

Jason Alexander (Editor) February 07, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Should chickens or hens be allowed in Fenton?
C.C. February 07, 2012 at 03:14 PM
The question is do you think chickens should be allowed in the City of Fenton. The underlying questions are: how many, where, on what size city lot,does the coop have to be sheltered from street side view, free range in yards or contained in a fenced in area-how big can the fenced in area be, can residents sell their hen's eggs from home, NO roosters crowing 24/7, should there be annual inspections-if so, how much to charge for them. If you want fresh homegrown eggs, they are available within 1/4 mile of the City limits. buy them locally. But the biggest question is, Would YOU want them living next door to YOU? Personally I do not. I've lived by chickens before and don't want to do it again. Cities are for people NOT domestic farm animals.
Candice Montie February 07, 2012 at 03:20 PM
I believe they should be allowed! We moved out here to get away from the cities and wanted our kids to see farming, wild life and nature.
Jen Peters February 07, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Yes! Allow chickens with resrictions (hen house size, distance from neighbors, number of hens, no roosters), and also look into all pet/animal policies. I'd much rather live next to 5 laying hens than 5 dogs, no matter their size. Also, there are plenty of residential options (condo and housing associations) that will still prohibit chickens in Fenton....so it's not as if Fenton will be overrun with chickens any time soon.
Lenny Haise February 07, 2012 at 06:37 PM
We must include ducks and geese.
Shawn Stevens February 07, 2012 at 07:40 PM
The timing of this article is great! I just read an article on store bought eggs vs fresh eggs(just this morning) and I was wondering if raising chickens was allowed in the city. I got my answer! Yes I think they should with restrictions. I can see not allowing roosters and limiting the number of hens allowed.
Vera Hogan February 08, 2012 at 03:21 PM
Better make sure that new ordinance specifically says "hens." Wouldn't have to write another one to prevent cock-fighting gambling.
Kasia March 01, 2012 at 04:08 AM
I'm outside of city limits and have just over 5 acres. I called the township wondering about any zoning ordinances since I have such a large lot (including a 40+ yr old barn) the woman was very short on the phone and declared that ten acres is the min. for any agricultural animal. BULL! (pun intended ;p) I have reason to believe that this lot was an old farm(obv. big barn with rump rub weathering on the interior), but the prev. owners had no intention to farm so no reason to "grandfather in". I have a very strong opinion against politics in our food industry, there is so much enrichment in tending and raising your own food it should be unlawful to not allow it! I understand if you're living in city limits that there should be SOME restrictions, but I don't see the difference between fencing in a dog or fencing in some chickens....a few goats... A cow? It saddens me to think that, when I have children, self sufficiency will be a thing of the past. Have you ever seen a child's face when they witness a chicken laying an egg and they're the first to sneak it out from under her? Viva la pollos
Laura Gutzeit April 27, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Yes, yes, yes!!! As long as the hens and their pen are kept clean and there aren't any roosters they should be allowed! Can't wait to have a few hens of my own!

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