Current laws already address noise, smell
Allowing chickens in residential backyards in cities such as Hazel Park and Madison Heights hasn’t raised much of a squawk, and Ferndale may be next with a new fowl-friendly law.
The city Planning Commission has scheduled a public hearing Sept. 14 on a revised ordinance that will permit residents to keep up to three chickens, but no roosters.
The issue in Ferndale has been marinating since earlier this year when Laura Mikulski and some other residents began pressing city officials to allow chickens and change an existing ordinance that requires chickens be kept at least 150 feet from the nearest neighbor’s property.
Given the size of residential lots in Ferndale, the current ordinance effectively bans chickens in 90 percent of city neighborhoods.
But that prohibition may soon head south.
City officials said they have been talking with their counterparts in other communities where chickens are allowed as they consider whether to allow them in Ferndale.
“I’ve spoken with Ypsilanti and Madison Heights,” said Derek Delacourt, Community and Economic Development director in Ferndale. “Each community had between 10 and 20 permits pulled (to keep chickens) and they have had few, if any, complaints.”
Ferndale is considering an ordinance that will reduce its current distance limits on chickens from nearby property owners and introduce requirements for coops to be kept in rear yards. Concerns about cleanliness, odor and attracting vermin are covered mostly by existing city laws.
Backyard chicken advocates say the birds are a natural, low-cost way to have fresh eggs and fertilizer for gardens. Keeping chickens in urban areas is a somewhat popular trend and over the past several years has cropped up in New York, San Francisco and cities in between.