Following the trend of cities and towns that have passed similar ordinances, the Hamlet Town Board this week held a public hearing to gain input on the proposed idea of an ordinance regulating urban chickens – that is, chickens within town limits. Board President Dave Kesvormas printed a copy of the small livestock ordinance currently in place for South Bend which regulates how many chickens are allowed at a residence and the requirements that must be met to house any livestock.
Kesvormas explained that it is just a framework that the board will review and likely modify to suit the town, but board member Frank Lonigro Jr. has his reservations concerning the idea. He said that there are a number of residents who are opposed to the idea, and he’s concerned about how the ordinance would be enforced.
South Bend’s ordinance allows for a maximum of six chickens per residential dwelling, and only allows female chickens; rooster are specifically prohibited. No chickens are allowed in multi-family dwellings. The ordinance also requires chicken coops and pens which must be enclosed with solid material on all sides and have a solid roof and at least one door, providing at least two square feet of area per chicken.
The coops must be located at least 15 feet away from any property line, and at least 20 feet away from the nearest residential dwelling. They must also be located behind the residential structure. A $20 annual livestock fee is also required to be paid in order to house urban chickens.
Kesvormas emphasized that this is just a framework for Hamlet’s possible livestock ordinance, and it must undergo three readings before it is finalized. He said he expects the board to make a number of modifications to the ordinance.