Ordinance Wording


Chair Roediger referred to the State of Michigan’s Generally Accepted Agriculture and
Management Practices for the Care of Farm Animals indicating that 6 square feet of space per chicken constitutes humane stocking density.
The consensus of the Commission was that staff garner input from other communities that permit chickens. It was generally agreed that permitting and neighbor approvals are
unnecessary. Maximum number of chickens is proposed at three in conformance to the current maximum number of permitted cats and dogs. Zoning requirements include restricting the keeping of chickens to single family residential units(R-1 district) and requiring setbacks of 10’ from any residential structure on an adjacent property and 5’ from the property line.
The revised ordinance should reference permanent materials, adequate ventilation and
maximum size limitation for coop construction. Coop construction and location should be in compliance with existing accessory structure requirements in Sec. 9-2 of the zoning ordinance. It was the further noted that the State’s Generally Accepted Management Practices be consulted to draft the provisions for managing food and the handling of dead animals.

Sec. 5-8. Keeping of Chickens.

(1) Any person residing in R-1 or R-2 residential zoned district property, in a single family detached structure, obtaining a permit from the city, may keep not more than three (3) hen chickens in the city for personal use only and not for any business or commercial use. Completed applications shall be submitted to the community and economic development department along with the fee which shall be determined by city council resolution.
Application shall be made to the community and economic development department and
shall include any drawings or other information required by the department. The
department shall issue a permit where the application is in compliance with all
requirements, regulations and ordinances of the city. Approved permit holders shall-
schedule an inspection within thirty (30) days of permit issuance. Failure to schedule an
inspection shall- result in an automatic revocation of the permit. If an inspection
identifies noncompliance with any of the requirements set forth in (3), the permit holder
shall have fifteen (15) days to achieve compliance with the requirements or the
department may revoke the permit or seek prosecution of the violation under Chapter 26-19 of the Ferndale Code. Permits shall be valid for up to one (1) year, shall be nontransferable, site-specific and shall expire on December 31st of each year. A person who wishes to continue keeping chickens shall obtain a new permit prior to expiration of the previous permit. Application for a new permit shall be pursuant to the procedures and requirements applicable at the time a person applies for a new permit.

(3) A person residing in R-1 or R-2 residential zoned district property, in a single family
detached structure who keeps hen chickens shall comply with all of the following
a. Keep no more than three (3) hen chickens at any time.
b. Roosters or male chickens and any other type of fowl or poultry are prohibited.
c. Slaughtering of any chickens at the property is prohibited.
d. Chickens shall be maintained in a fully enclosed structure or a fenced enclosure
and shall be kept in the enclosed structure or fenced enclosure at all times. Fenced
enclosures are subject to all fence provisions and restrictions in the Ferndale
Code. An enclosed structure shall be constructed of permanent materials and shall
be properly maintained in accordance with the property maintenance code
adopted by the city in Section 6-16 of the Ferndale Code, as amended.
e. Chickens shall not be kept in any location on the property other than in the
backyard. For purposes of this section, “backyard” means that portion of a lot
enclosed by the property’s rear lot line and the side lot lines to the points where
the side lot lines intersect with an imaginary line established by the rear of the
single-family or two-family structure and extending to the side lot lines.

f. No enclosed structure shall be located within any side or rear yard setback area.

An enclosed structure or fenced enclosure shall not be located closer than ten (10)
feet to any residential structure on adjacent property.
g. All structures and enclosures for the keeping of chickens shall be constructed and
maintained so as to prevent rats, mice, or other rodents or vermin from being
harbored underneath or within the walls of the structure or enclosure.
h. All feed and other items associated with the keeping of chickens likely to attract
rats, mice, or other rodents or vermin shall be secured and protected in sealed
i. Chickens shall be kept in compliance with the Michigan Department of
Agriculture Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices for the
Care of Farm Animals, as it relates to Laying Chickens, as amended, except as
otherwise provided in this ordinance.
j. Any violation of any of these provisions may be prosecuted as provided in
Chapter 26-19.


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