Remember when backyard chicken coops occupied Amherst city council for months on end?
Well now Ohio House Bill 175 is taking up the question of whether urban farming can happen in areas that were never intended for agriculture.
Sponsored by state Rep. Tom Brinkman (R-Mt. Lookout), the “barnyard bill” uses homeowners’ acreage to determine where livestock can be raised.
At this point, the bill specifically bans roosters and small “nuisance” livestock.
It would allow one chicken or other fowl for every .05 acres, one goat for every .3 acres, and one rabbit or other small animal for every .05 acres.
The bill would prohibit zoning boards from regulating those activities, except to allow more animals than the state law.
It would require homeowners to keep their properties sanitary and free of noxious odors.
If passed, HB 175 would follow on the heels of Senate Bill 235, which went into effect Jan. 1. It prohibits residents from allowing fowl to wander onto your neighbor’s land.
Amherst city council debated its old chicken laws through much of 2014. Officials finally decided four chickens could be raised in outside enclosures in residential areas.
The debate arose when city inspectors started fining urban farmers.
Chicken owners told council they raised chickens for any number of reasons they believed to be lawful: for fresh eggs and poultry, as 4-H and Lorain County Fair projects, and one veteran said he kept chickens on the advice of a doctor as a way to manage post-traumatic stress disorder.