May 23, 2018
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Pittsfield Town Council approves public hearing for raising chickens in urban areas of town

By Ryan McLaughlin, BDN Staff

PITTSFIELD, Maine — It’s not uncommon for folks to own chickens in the rural areas of a small town, but folks in both urban and rural areas of Pittsfield may soon have a chance to raise the animals.

Tuesday evening, town councilors unanimously approved a proposal for a public hearing regarding a zoning ordinance that would allow residents in urban sections of Pittsfield to raise chickens on their property.

Residents in nonurban areas of town are currently allowed to raise chickens on their property.

“We approved it to go to the next step,” said Pittsfield Mayor Tim Nicholas. “Everything appears to be in order.”

That next step will be a public hearing, which will be held here on Aug. 16.

“The planning board approved the proposal by a vote of 4 to 1,” Town Manager Kathryn Ruth said.

After the planning board’s approval, the town’s ordinance committee approved by a vote of 2-0 that the chicken proposal be passed on to the Town Council, and the council subsequently gave it the green light Tuesday.

If the proposal is passed again at the public hearing next month, residents in urban areas can head to the Town Hall and apply for permits to raise the animals.

“It’s easier that we amend all these ordinances,” said Ruth. “The old section just indicates you can’t have the chickens in urban areas.”

Of course, there are certain restrictions enclosed in the proposal, as the chickens must be female, as opposed to male roosters, and the pen must consist of a wire-enclosed house for the purpose of allowing the chickens to leave their house while remaining in an enclosed environment, safe from traffic and domestic pets.

The entire chicken house must also be under 200 square feet in size.

Residents are also allowed a maximum number of six chickens per lot and cannot slaughter them for meat or sell their eggs for commercial purposes.

The councilors also approved the transfer of an airport lease between the town and Central Maine Skydiving to Jef LeRette who bought the property from Patrick Brown.

“The gentleman’s very enthusiastic,” Ruth said of LeRette.

Ruth also said the Central Maine Egg Festival committee meeting, scheduled for Thursday at 5:30 p.m., has been canceled.

“The committee is a small committee and everybody has their assignments,” said Ruth. “The president, Debra Billings, just thought it’d be a good idea to cancel the meetings [because] everybody has their assignments.”

She did announce that town councilors will serve as judges for the festival’s pie-eating contest, while the council also approved the renewal of the Special Amusement Permit for the Sebasticook Valley Lodge of Elks.

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