Youngstown zoning panel rejects small livestock in city

By David Skolnick



The city planning commission voted Tuesday to recommend approval of a new redevelopment and zoning plan without changing language on small livestock and bees in urban areas.

Tammy Thomas, co-chairwoman of the Mahoning Valley Food Policy Council; Sophia Buggs, who has a farm on the city’s South Side; and Paul Hagman, a downtown architect; had urged the change.

But the commission voted 5-0 on the plan without the livestock-and-bees waiver. City council has the final say on adopting the plan.

For those who want livestock — goats, chickens, ducks and rabbits, for examples — or bees, permission is needed from the health department, the planning commission and city council, with the latter two having public hearings, before getting a permit.

The proposed code earlier this year streamlined the section on small livestock and excluded roosters as a nuisance.

But that changed after the planning commission revisited the proposal and decided to continue requiring council approval on a case-by-case basis.

“If there were chickens next door to my house, I would find that very disruptive to my life,” said Law Director Anthony Farris, a planning commission member. “You’re underplaying the negative. I think people would want to move because of chickens next door.”

He added that “there are kooks who will get chickens” for no reason.

Thomas, Buggs and Hagman proposed restrictions on small livestock and bees. Among their proposals are one hen or duck for every 1,000 square feet of property, up to eight animals; up to two other small livestock on a parcel containing at least 5,000 square feet for each animal; and up to two beehives on parcels containing at least 2,000 square feet for each hive.

“We want to do this with guidelines,” Thomas said. “There is some interest from the community supporting this.”

There are those in the community who want to buy fresh eggs and honey locally, she said.

“I don’t think we’re asking for anything unreasonable,” Hagman said. “We have a limit. It opens the window a crack, but it’s not allowing a free-for-all for livestock.”

Buggs said her eight-lot property has dilapidated parcels on either side.

“Can I have one chicken and one beehive?” she asked.

That will now be up to city council to decide.

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