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Backyard Chicken Ordinance to be discussed at Public Hearing

With public support, the Backyard Chicken Ordinance could make it legal for qualified citizens to own chickens for a two-year trial. The Grand Rapids City Commission is hosting a public hearing to gauge citizens' opinions on the subject.
City Hens

City Hens /Eric Tank

Backyard Chicken Ordinance Public Hearing

Where: 9th floor chambers of City Hall
300 Monroe Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

When: January 13, 2015, 7 p.m.

Rapidians will have a chance to comment on the proposed Backyard Chicken ordinance early in the new year. Those who would like to make their opinions heard can meet with the Grand Rapids City Commission at City Hall in the 9th floor chambers at 7 p.m. the evening of January 13.

The proposed ordinance would make it legal for qualified citizens to own chickens for a two-year trial beginning May 1. After the two-year period, the City Commission would discuss whether or not to keep backyard chicken ownership legal.

Commissioners have proposed a number of rules to accompany the ordinance. Potential backyard chicken owners would have to apply for an annual permit and pay an annual fee, the amount of which is yet to be determined. Permits would only be granted to those with lots of at least 5,000 square feet and neighbors who do not oppose the intent to keep chickens. Should neighbors object within 21 days, the permit would not be granted. Prospective chicken owners would also be asked to keep their chickens in a coop positioned 10 feet away from any lot line, and the number of chickens desired would be a factor in the decision to grant a permit. Roosters would not be included in the ordinance; only hens would be legal to keep.

The subject of backyard chicken-keeping was last tabled by city commissioners in 2010, when it received a 3-3 vote (one member not voting) against backyard chicken ownership. The issue has continued to hold public interest. 

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