The Bangor City Council will discuss two unrelated — but long-discussed — topics at a meeting next week: whether to allow chickens to be raised in the city’s residential areas and whether to ban the use of polystyrene foam containers by local businesses.
Councilors will hold a special workshop Tuesday at 5:15 p.m. to discuss the two proposals, hear public feedback on them and decide whether there is enough support for either to formally consider them at a later time.
The city council hasn’t considered allowing chickens in residential areas since 2010. At that time, councilors ultimately voted to table a proposed change that would have let residents keep up to six hens in a residential zone, with a number of restrictions that included keeping coops at least 20 feet from neighboring properties and a prohibition on slaughtering the fowl.
Right now, Bangor ordinances only allow residents to keep chickens in the city’s rural and agricultural zones.
The council last discussed banning foam food containers more recently, in the fall of 2017.
At the time, councilors voted 6-3 against a proposed ordinance that would have banned establishments from selling food or drinks in containers that include polystyrene, a material used to make the foam products.
During that meeting, the council also voted down a proposed prohibition on plastic bags at stores. Both bans were meant to reduce pollution of the fisheries and the production of fossil fuels, which are used to make polystyrene and plastic. But opponents argued the bans would have been too expensive for small businesses.
Several Maine communities already have banned polystyrene, including Freeport, Portland, South Portland and Brunswick.
“A number of citizens have brought up both of these subjects to councilors and city staff, with some people asking why they can’t have domestic chickens in residential areas of Bangor, and why we’re not following other cities in Maine like Portland or Freeport in instituting partial or full bans on polystyrene,” Zeth Lundy, the city’s public information coordinator, said. “Enough people have brought it up that city councillors have asked to have the workshop to gain public feedback on both sides of the issues, to gain feedback before considering any changes.”