Residents who prefer to go to their backyard instead of the supermarket for eggs and honey can do it after Hilliard City Council on Sept. 12 amended city code to allow hens and bees to be kept on parcels of at least one-half acre in size.
City Council passed an ordinance 5-1 to allow bees and up to six hens on parcels of the correct size in the R-1, R-2, RR (Rural Residential) and PUD (Planned Unit Development) zoning districts.
Land requirements of the ordinance
Owners of parcels at least one acre in size and up to three acres can keep a combination of hens, roosters and ducks that do not exceed six in all four zoning districts.
Owners of parcels at least three acres in size can have up to a combination of six hens, roosters or ducks in the R-1, R-2 and PUD zoning districts. Those living on parcels of at least three acres in the RR zoning district can have a combination of three hens, roosters or ducks per each acre.
Honeybee hives are limited to three on parcels of at least one-half acre in the R-1, R-2 and PUD zoning districts. Parcels of at least one-half acre in the RR zoning district are allowed up to five hives. Parcels exceeding three acres in the RR zoning district are allowed two hives per acre.
Councilman Les Carrier, citing the noisiness of roosters, sought an amendment to prohibit roosters altogether, but the measure failed 3-3. Carrier, Tina Cottone and Peggy Hale voted in favor of the amendment. Pete Marsh, Omar Tarazi and Council President Andy Teater voted against the amendment.
Councilwoman Cottone was the lone dissenter in the 5-1 decision on the original ordinance. Councilwoman Cynthia Vermillion was absent.
As a code change, the ordinance is to go into effect 30 days after its passage, said Carson Combs, planning manager for Hilliard.
The ordinance requires that it be reviewed and reconsidered in 12 months, according to Hilliard's city attorney, Phil Hartmann.
Few residents qualify to utilize the amended city code.
Only 400 of the city’s 7,385 parcels, or 5.4%, meet the one-half-acre requirement to harbor chickens and bees, according to Combs.
Legislation has strict rules and regulations
The legislation limits the keeping of the animals for private use − commercial use is prohibited − and establishes regulations for minimum distance from property lines, sheltering, sanitation standards and other requirements.
While commercial use is prohibited, the city “is not interested” in policing whether people give or sell eggs and honey to family and friends, but would investigate complaints of heavy traffic or signage indicating commercial activity, Combs said.
“It has become more popular for people to promote self-sufficiency. Neighboring communities have allowed this and I am not aware of any major issues. This makes sense (and) I think it is a good starting point for a test run,” Marsh said at the introduction of the legislation.
The introduction of the legislation was a response to residents who expressed interest in having chickens or bees and the city-reviewed zoning codes of other municipalities in presenting the ordinance, according to city planner John Talentino.
Those residents included Leap Road resident Sharon White, who told council members Sept. 12 she had kept chickens from 2013 until last year, unaware it was in violation of city code until a code enforcement officer inadvertently discovered she had chickens on the property.
White thanked the administration and City Council for its consideration.
This article originally appeared on ThisWeek: Homegrown honey, eggs permitted in Hilliard backyards