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Too much fowl play? Township eyes chicken ordinance

Sherri of Groveland Twp. feeds some of her chickens. (click for larger version)
March 30, 2011 - Groveland Twp.-Like many residents, Tim and Sherri utilize the rural characteristics of the township to raise a few chickens.

And while the birds have become part of the landscape—a few of the critters have been scratching some residents the wrong way.

"We've had chickens here since 1997 when we moved here," said Sherri. "We've never had a neighbor complain and we keep the birds penned up. Dogs barking, cars racing up and down the road, make more noise or problems than our chickens. These birds are a source of food, they catch bugs, we use their manure on the garden and youth can raise them for 4-H—not to mention the farm fresh eggs."

Other township residents are gleaning the benefits of chickens—so populous are the domesticated fowl the township planning commission is currently deliberating an ordinance to regulate ownership of the birds.

"Last year we had complaints after chickens roamed over on to neighbors' property," said Bob DePalma, township supervisor. "We understand that with rural property, residents like to have chickens for a few eggs. However, under the current ordinance, residents need ten acres to be zoned agricultural. That means no chickens."

The first public meeting on March 22 drew a crowd of more than 35 to the township hall. The planning commission is considering a maximum of 50 chickens per 2.5 acres, all chickens must be fenced in an enclosed area and no restrictions on roosters.

"All we are looking for is maintaining a reasonable number of chickens for residents," added DePalma.

At 7 p.m., May 24 the township planning commission will discuss the chicken ordinance.

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