Streetsboro postpones a decision on chicken rules

Image of chickens
Tim Cooper/Unsplash

Streetsboro City Council postponed a decision on new restrictions for chicken ownership in the city, saying they needed more information. They were expected to consider the proposal at Monday’s meeting.

“I’m in favor of chickens in our area. I know most of our neighbors are, too,” resident Steve Suchy told council members. 

They assured him that any new restrictions would likely not affect him or his neighbors.

Under the proposal, residents who live in urban and conservation districts would need to apply for a special zoning certificate allowing them to keep a maximum of six hens. No roosters would be allowed in these areas.

These zoning districts are R-1 (Low Density Urban Residential), R-2 (Medium Density Urban Residential) and O-C (Open Space Conservation). To qualify, residents would also need to have properties 0.7 acres or larger and live in subdivisions where at least 50% of the nearby lots are of similar size. Residents who already have chickens would not be grandfathered in. Those residents would need to apply for a permit just like anyone else, Assistant Law Director Sara Fagnilli said after a public hearing held in April.

Council members have stated that each application to keep chickens would have to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. For those residents (and their neighbors) who do have the required acreage, flocks would have to be kept in residents’ back yards, and coops and runs would have to be located at least 10 feet from all property lines and at least 20 feet from all dwellings.

On corner lots, coops and runs would have to be set back from the street at least the same distance as the dwelling.

Coops would be limited to one per lot and would not be permitted in riparian or wetland setbacks. Residents would also have to comply with rules governing coop heights and lot coverage. Areas where the birds are kept would have to be fully enclosed areas with fences or evergreen plants at least four feet high so the chickens would not be visible from the street or neighboring houses.

Chickens would have to be secured in their coops from dusk to dawn. Residents would have to keep their lots clean of animal waste, feed and debris.

Residents would not be permitted to breed or sell their live chickens, and they could not sell chicken meat, eggs or other chicken-derived products.

The ordinance would be more lenient in rural areas. Chicken coop setbacks in properties zoned RR (Rural Residential) would be reduced from 200 feet to 100 feet from the property line. Roosters would be permitted in those zones.

The city may get a community stage

Council is in the first stages of planning a community stage somewhere in the city. Council members were hoping to use stimulus funds to finance the project but discovered that would be an inappropriate use of the money.

Council’s current idea is to get the design and cost estimates completed and worry about funding sources later. No word on where the community stage might be, but one council member suggested City Park as a possibility. The Thrasher Group, Inc. will likely create a conceptual design, with the $19,250 cost being drawn from the city’s Parks and Rec budget.

Council will revisit the idea and the contract at its May 24 meeting.

Replacing the jail management system

Also on deck: City leaders may have to find funds for a new jail management system. Police Chief Tricia Wain said the one currently in use is original with the police station, and its parts were discontinued in 1998.

The system controls the facilities locks, lighting system and communication system between the holding cells and dispatch. Wain said she received a $34,000 estimate to replace the system, which is required by Ohio law. Replacing two locks that she described as “fried” would cost another $5,000.

Wain said she could draw the money from a police cruiser fund, which had money set aside for a vehicle the department was planning to buy next year.

Council will consider the contract at its May 24 meeting.

City programming returns

As Covid fears retreat, council noted that the city’s seniors are once again using Streetsboro’s Senior Center. The facility recently hosted a Cinco de Mayo event, and day trips may be approved soon.

At the other end of the age spectrum, Safety Land will return this year. The program is geared toward children who are entering kindergarten this fall. Contact the Streetsboro Police Department for sign-up information.

Other Streetsboro news:

  • May 20 is targeted as the move-in date for Streetsboro’s new fire station, with a ribbon cutting ceremony slated for later this summer. The fire department is also currently at work on a memorial for Sept. 11.
  • The city’s water tower will be getting a facelift as council approved a contract up to $24,000 to clean and paint the structure.
  • Streetsboro’s community-wide garage sale is set for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 15.
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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.