City moves forward with chicken ordinance

More than 6 in 10 respondents say hens should be allowed

By Kevin Spradlin
Potomac Valley Herald

* Survey results

FROSTBURG — More than 60 percent of people who responded to a city of Frostburg survey indicated a preference for chickens to be permitted within city limits under certain conditions, and more than three out of every four respondents said lot size should dictate how many chickens a family can have.

Elizabeth Stahlman, community development director for the city, addressed Mayor Robert Flanigan and Town Council members Monday night during a regular public work session at City Hall. Stahlman summarized that 261 people completed the survey between Oct. 21 and Nov. 12, including 231 people who live within city limits.

More than six out of every 10 respondents to a survey on a proposed chicken ordinance in the city of Frostburg indicated they preferred hens be allowed in city limits, with conditions on lot sizes and quantity.

More than six out of every 10 respondents to a survey on a proposed chicken ordinance in the city of Frostburg indicated they preferred hens be allowed in city limits, with conditions on lot sizes and quantity.

Stahlman projected bringing a draft ordinance to the city’s December public meeting with a possible public hearing in January.

From the input gathered from the online and hardcopy surveys submitted to City Hall, Stahlman suggested city leaders consider an ordinance that address only chickens — and one that omits roosters, rabbits, goats, turkeys, pigs or horses. Any ordinance will allow a limited number of chickens, likely up to five per family, to only single-family and duplex homes — but not apartment-style units. Subdivision covenants would take precedent over city ordinance.

Along with the brief survey, respondents also provided nine pages of “a lot of comments, and they’re on both extremes and some in the middle,” Stahlman said.

City Administrator John Kirby noted that respondents were “angry on both sides of the issue.” Indeed, the city’s Facebook post on Oct. 21 announcing the proposed ordinance and survey resulted in three direct comments — all negative.

* My dog has enough to contend with … as it is,” exclaimed Brad Harris, noting feral cats, chipmunks, squirrels and rabbits.

Donna J. Shriver opined that “farm animals need the country, not the city.”

And Cliff Kip Walls was adamant: “No farm animals in the city.”

Stahlman, who keeps approximately 40 chickens with her husband on their LaVale property, indicates a family could get two eggs per day if thy had three chickens.

“You can keep a few chickens in a real small space,” she said. “What we would do with the poop would be another question.”

Stahlman recommended a monthly cleaning of chicken coops. On her property, coops are cleaned twice a year and the only time she’s noticed a smell is either during cleanup itself or when the chicken manure is spread over a garden and the area experiences extended rain.

Stahlman said the state already requires chickens to be registered — at no cost — so she didn’t suggest city leaders support a city-run chicken registration process.

 

 

 

 

 

Filed in: Farm & Ag, Featured News, Latest Headlines, News

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