The Bangor City Council has decided against reconsidering a city rule that prohibits people who live in residential neighborhoods from raising chickens in their backyards.
On Monday night, during a workshop before the council’s regularly scheduled meeting, the group voted 5-2 against considering whether to remove the prohibition.
During a meeting in late February, some members of the City Council had supported revisiting the rule, given that numerous residents have spoken up about it in recent years. But because three councilors missed that meeting, they agreed to postpone the decision.
Right now, Bangor ordinances only allow residents to keep chickens — and numerous other kinds of livestock — in the rural and agricultural sections of the city.
On Monday, councilors Gibran Graham and Laura Supica voted to revisit that ordinance, but the five other councilors who attended the meeting opposed the review. With that vote, the city’s current rules will stand.
Two councilors, Ben Sprague and Clare Davitt, were not able to attend the workshop.
During the February meeting, residents argued for and against reviewing the city’s ban on chickens in residential areas.
Some supported the current rules, arguing that chickens can attract predators, and be loud and unsanitary. “No one will want to live next to an unkept chicken coop,” said one woman who opposed reviewing the ordinances. “Would the city [be able to enforce this] by court action? Does it have the resources to do this?”
But others spoke against the current prohibition, pointing to the merits of raising their own food and arguing that ordinances can be written to prevent chickens from disrupting neighbors.
The council previously considered allowing chickens in residential areas in 2010, but at the time, councilors tabled a vote on the proposed change. The proposal would have let residents keep up to six hens in a residential zone with numerous restrictions, such as keeping coops at least 20 feet from neighboring properties and prohibiting the slaughter of fowl.