Holly Township Board to Vote on Revising Chicken Ordinance

Holly Township Board to Vote on Revising Chicken Ordinance

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Dec. 26, 2018)

Holly Township, MI- The Holly Township Board of Trustees is expected to vote on removing lot restrictions from the ordinance regulating Class III farm animals, including ducks, chickens, and rabbits.

Currently residents with lots that are less than 2.5 acres cannot have those types of animals.  However, those residing in the Village can.

The public hearing for the ordinance is scheduled for the Planning Commission Meeting on Jan. 15 at 6:30pm at the Karl Richter Community Center.  Residents will be able to weigh in on the change.

If the Planning Commission approves the ordinance, it will then go to the Township Board for the final vote, which is likely to take place in February.  The Planning Commission could also decide to delay the vote if more changes are needed.

“Chickens in other communities have been a pretty heated thing at times,” said Planning Commission Chair and chicken owner Tony Engelberg at the December Board meeting.  “I think that what we’re planning on doing is going to make things less restrictive and better for everybody.”  He added that if anyone had concerns they should come to the public hearing.

In September the Planning Commission directed Township staff to draft an ordinance that would eliminate the lot size requirement.  It would also remove the limitations on the number of animals.

Property owners are required to have “adequate fencing or other restrictive device” to contain the animals, with the fenced areas located no nearer than 25 feet from any dwelling which exists on an adjacent lot.  Structures housing Class III animals shall be located no nearer than 100 feet to any dwelling which exists on an adjacent lot and no nearer than 50 feet to any adjacent lot line.

The ordinance also requires that refuse and waste be controlled upon the premises, and that all feed and other substances and materials on the premises for the maintenance of the animals should be stored so as to not attract rats, mice, or other vermin.

Class III animals include rabbits (which are not maintained or kept as domesticated household pets); animals considered as poultry, animals considered as wildfowl, such as pheasant, quail, geese or grouse, and other animals weighing less than 75 pounds not specifically classified [in the ordinance].

When asked why he favored the ordinance, Engelberg said “In examining our class 3 animal ordinance we realized it restricted and prohibited people who lived on lots under 2.5 acres from having chickens, rabbits etc. Being that I live in the village on a property less than an acre and can have chickens it seemed that we needed to do something to allow people in the township to take advantage of the rural character of our community.  So by removing the 2.5 acre restriction we allow the rest of the ordinance which governs proper care, setbacks and other guidelines that protect health and safety to remain while giving smaller property owners opportunity to own class 3 animals.”

The proposed ordinance language will be posted on the Holly Township website prior to the Jan. 15 meeting date.

Note: An earlier version of this story did not include the removal of the limit on the quantity of animals. 

Related stories:

Clawson Working Towards New Chicken Ordinance, Dec. 26, 2018

Ferndalians Can Now Keep Up to Six Backyard Chickens, Sept. 11, 2018

Dumpsters, Chickens and Wind Turbines Under Consideration by Holly township, Sept. 9, 2018

Chickens of Oakland County, Where Does Your Community Stand. Aug. 3, 2017

Ferndale’s First (Legal) Chicken Coop, May 18, 2012

Chicken Coops in Ferndale, April 20, 2011

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