Chickens poultry generic

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Bethlehem's evolving ordinance governing backyard chickens will now go to City Council's public safety committee for review.

At its meeting on Tuesday night, council, acting on a motion made by Councilmember Rachel Leon, voted unanimously to turn over the ordinance and related materials to the committee.

Mayor J. William Reynolds requested that the ordinance go through committee review to receive input from the administration before bringing it to a final vote.

Council postponed action on the ordinance, sponsored by Councilmembers Paige Van Wirt and Hillary Kwiatek, at its Aug. 2 meeting after reviewing an amended version that capped the number of permits to 40.

That version also would have allowed a one-year pilot period to determine how keeping urban chickens affects the administration, the city's animal control officer and residents.

As it stands, the ordinance allows for six chickens and requires an applicant to submit a completed application provided by the city's animal control officer and pay the fees.

The $25 application requires a drawn-to-scale site plan showing proposed locations and the footprint of the proposed chicken coop and runs, as well as existing structures on the property and the location of adjacent homes or properties.

Chickens and eggs cannot be raised for commercial purposes under the ordinance.

Once approved by the city, an applicant will receive a permit that lasts three years and must be renewed.

Chief of Police Michelle Kott welcomed the committee review, telling council that the city has received numerous calls in favor of and against the chicken ordinance.

The review is a good way to systematically go through the ordinance and explore its potential effects on the city, she said.

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