WATERVILLE — City councilors tonight will consider taking final votes on a request to allow people in residential zones to have up to six laying hens on their property.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the council chambers at The Center downtown.

Chickens now are allowed in the rural residential zone, which is primarily in the area south of Robert LaFleur Municipal Airport.

Some residents in the residential zone have asked to be allowed to have hens so that they may obtain their own eggs, teach their children to do so and have a more healthful alternative to eating commercially produced eggs.

The council Sept. 18 voted 7-0 to approve changes to the zoning ordinance that would allow people in the residential zone to have hens, under certain conditions. Councilors must take two more votes on the issue and may take one or both tonight.

The proposed conditions would require henkeepers to make a significant investment.

Owners would have to have at least 10,000 square feet of land — nearly a quarter-acre — and keep chickens in enclosed areas except during daylight, when they could be in outdoor wire pens.

Henhouses and pens would have to be at least 15 feet from side and rear property lines and at least 20 feet from the nearest residence. Henhouses must be raised off the ground and enclosed on all sides.

They must have a minimum of 4 square feet of floor area per hen and have a minimum of 60 square feet of ground space.

Chicken owners must keep their properties clean, orderly and sanitary and may not allow chicken waste to accumulate or provide a breeding place for insects or rodents. Temporary storage areas for waste not to be composted must be kept in tightly covered steel or plastic containers.

Slaughtering chickens or keeping birds bred for meat would be prohibited. Roosters would not be allowed.

In January 2010, councilors voted 7-0 to approve changes to the city’s zoning ordinance that would have allowed residents to have up to six chickens, but Paul LePage — mayor at the time — vetoed the decision.

LePage, now governor, said then that he had been contacted by more than 30 residents who opposed allowing chickens, and three spoke in favor of allowing them within city limits.

In other matters tonight, the council is expected to consider:

* Abating $9,294 in property taxes, interest and lien costs for Airport Road property that the city bought from The Union Front Corp. Forgiveness of all property taxes was a condition of the sale.

* Approving a lease for space in the main terminal building at the airport for Airlink LLC.

* Approving a food license for Marleena Pilla, doing business as Michelina’s Apizza at 4 Union St., the site of the former George’s Restaurant.

* Approving a pole permit for Thomas College to install three light poles about 170 feet east of West River Road on Eaglewood Drive.

* Establishing hours for voter registration: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with special evening hours, 5 to 7 p.m., on Oct. 30 and Nov. 1.

* Appropriating $40,000 to fund bond refinancing in the amount of $3.3 million.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

 

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