Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development
Wow! The Planning Commission had an interesting meeting last night. With the help of experts from the Oakland County 4-H Club, the group tackled the issue of planning for “backyard chickens” in residential areas. The event was a lot of fun and very informative. Hey, even this City boy got to hold a hen.
I know what you are thinking … Backyard chickens? Really? Well, we have found that there is a growing segment of the population that wishes to know where their eggs come from. However, today in the City of Auburn Hills, folks are prohibited from raising chickens unless they own a “farm” on 5 acres or more. After learning more about the ins and outs of chicken keeping, it has become very clear to us that the City’s existing standards are much too restrictive.
If done right, we are now convinced that chickens and residential neighborhoods can peacefully coexist. The Planning Commission is developing standards, based on the advice of experts, which would allow up to 6 hens to be raised in a backyard – an increase from the limit of 3 hens originally proposed.
The design of the required chicken coop and associated fenced enclosure is being carefully considered along with setbacks from adjacent properties and homes to address potential nuisance concerns. Oh, most importantly – no roosters will be allowed.
The Planning Commission anticipates it will review the final “draft” the new Backyard Chicken Keeping Ordinance on June 26th and then forward the law to the City Council for potential approval in July.
You got to give the Planning Commission credit. They don’t just look at an issue. They fully immerse themselves into solving complex challenges. No doubt, the group does a great job for the community by always planning ahead.