Planning commissioners Tuesday night discussed relaxing the current ordinance, which only allows chickens on lots that are 2 acres or larger, with a special land use permit.
When resident Christopher Vanoosterhout recently approached the Township Board to request consideration for the keeping of chickens, the board passed it along to the Planning Commission on a 4-3 vote.
“Knowing it was a 4-3 vote, I would say, if we made a major change, I'm not sure it would fly,” Township Community Services Director Lukas Hill told the Planning Commission. “It's lukewarm at the board level. If we were to go back to them with something, I think it would need to be fairly conservative.”
Commissioners brooded on several options, including no minimum lot size, but they appeared to agree in principle to relaxed standards that would allow up to four hens on a lot as small as 12,000 square feet. For every additional one-tenth of an acre, residents could have an additional chicken, with a maximum of 10.
The animals would have to be fenced in and also have a structure available for their use. Roosters and slaughtering would be prohibited.
Spring Lake Village leaders considered allowing chickens in 2009, but decided against it.
Crockery Township Supervisor Leon Stille said his municipality is OK with chickens unless neighbors complain.
"What the heck are a half-dozen chickens going to hurt?" Stille said. "There's enough space here that people can pretty much do what they want to do. If it gets stinky or noisy, we'd say there has to be a limit."
Spring Lake Township planning commissioners are expected to review a revised ordinance next month and make a recommendation to the Township Board.
Commissioner Ron Lindquist said he took an informal poll and residents appear to be in favor of allowing chickens, with the consideration of lot size.
Commission Chairman Dave Rumpel said his niece keeps chickens on the east side of the state.
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