An Ashland City Council majority has added regulations for the keeping of backyard chickens, rather than loosening rules as chicken enthusiasts had hoped.
In an effort to promote local food production, city staff members had drafted an ordinance that reduced the distance chickens had to be kept from neighboring homes from 75 feet to 20 feet. Staff members said the existing 75-foot-buffer rule precluded most Ashlanders from legally raising backyard chickens because most lot sizes don't offer enough space.
But on Tuesday night, the council voted to keep the 75-foot rule in place. Councilors also added new regulations governing chicken coop and run sizes, the storage of chicken manure and feed, and the number of chickens that can be kept on a property.
People with lots that are smaller than 5,000 square feet can keep up to five chickens, while people on larger lots can keep up to 20 of the birds.
The City Council finalized other changes Tuesday night that are meant to support the local food movement and the environment.
It will now be easier and less expensive for people to install solar panels on business buildings in Ashland's historic districts, and residents can build deer fences that are up to 8 feet tall, as long as the top part of the fencing is see-through and not made of chain link.
Eaves can be longer to shade homes from the sun, and people can keep rain barrels in narrow side yards if they maintain three feet of clearance, screen the barrels and put them on platforms or foundations that can bear the weight. Rain barrels cannot be taller than 6 feet.
For detailed information on the new regulations regarding chickens, deer fencing, solar panels, eaves and rain barrels, call the Ashland Community Development Department at 541-488-5305.
— Vickie Aldous