Proposed changes to Huntsville’s policy regarding backyard hens sent back to committee



A zoning amendment which would have changed the size of lots and number of hens allowed on Huntsville properties located in areas not classed as high to medium density has been sent back to the Town’s Development Services Committee for further consideration.

Currently,  the Town’s zoning bylaw does not allow backyard hens on lots less than one acre in size. The amendment would have changed that to allow up to five hens on properties with an area of less than an acre and up to 10 hens on properties greater than an acre. Roosters are not allowed due to noise concerns.

The changes were first introduced at Huntsville’s Development Services Committee on January 16, along with other “housekeeping” amendments. Councillor Dan Armour at the time asked whether ducks should be included in the amendment. Manager of Planning Services Kirstin Maxwell said that could be included at a later date if the issue arose.

Committee approved the changes and sent them to Huntsville Council’s January 28 meeting for ratification. But when the housekeeping bylaw was introduced, Councillor Jason FitzGerald, who sits on Town’s Planning Services Committee, seemed to have a change of heart and asked that the changes be sent back to committee for further discussion.

In conversation with Doppler, FitzGerald said that since the changes were first introduced he’s been in discussion with several constituents who feel that the numbers proposed are not sustainable, particularly as it pertains to raising meat birds.

“The cost becomes prohibitive for raising them and processing them and purchasing them in such a low quantity,” he said, referring specifically to the limit of five chickens on properties less than an acre.

“There are animal husbandry laws which need to be followed about cleanliness and space required per bird, so if they can meet those needs and the setbacks, why do we want to put a limit on it?” questioned FitzGerald.

The Development Services Committee is scheduled to meet again on February 13, 2019, at 1 p.m.

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  1. I live in Town, in a low density area: and have the pleasure of listening to a sawmill (beginning at 7 a.m.). You have no idea how much more I would appreciate the sound of one of God’s creatures welcoming the day.

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