If the Township Board concurs, up to four hens would be allowed on residential lots that are at least 12,000 square feet — about a quarter of an acre.
For every 4,300 square feet above the minimum lot size, residents could keep an additional chicken, up to a maximum of 10.
Current township rules allow chickens on lots larger than 2 acres with a special land use permit.
Under the proposed new rules, a special land use would still be required. Roosters and slaughtering of animals would not be allowed.
But it appears the proposed changes could ruffle the feathers of some Township Board members.
“I can safely say the thing that is going to grab the most attention is the 12,000 square feet,” said Planning Commissioner Ron Lindquist, who also serves on the Township Board. “The sense of the board, at least some members, is they want it bigger.”
Last spring, after a resident requested that chickens be allowed, the Township Board passed the discussion on to the Planning Commission with a 4-3 vote.
Although board members at that time said they didn't want the township to resemble a “third-world country” with chickens roaming about, planning commissioners noted that many high-class cities — including East Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Traverse City and Holland — allow chickens in residential areas.
Township Community Services Director Lukas Hill said many communities allow up to four hens in residential areas, regardless of lot size.
“If you're not in an (agricultural) district, you get four hens and have a nice day,” he said.
Hill noted that because a special land use would be required, each individual request would also be subject to a public hearing and Planning Commission review.
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