Chickens, wind and private property

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By Jack Rodzik
Bath-DeWitt Connection staff writer

Bath, Mich. – Flag lots, wind energy, chickens and horses were discussed on Oct. 11 for the Bath Planning Commission.

The meeting started off discussing private roads and flag lots in old businesses. The ideas for the ordinance have already been set in place, but there was a need to word it the correct way before the public hearing. The commission will further discuss the language of the ordinance regarding the land that has development potential before next meeting.

The other topic of old business regarded the definition of small and large wind turbines. The old definitions said that a small fan would be less than 10 kilowatts and anything producing more energy would be considered large, the new definition states the largest fan allowed in a half acre will be 45 feet and 110 feet in rural areas by special use permit. The definition also includes that the blade, at the lowest point, must clear 30 feet.

“So we enter the animal portion of our agenda tonight,” said Daniel Kramer, Planning Commissioner and assistant professor at Michigan State University.

The next agenda item discussed a chicken ordinance in new business. The board members discussed amongst themselves what an ideal ordinance might entail. According to other surrounding communities such as Lansing, their minimum lot size deals with set backs, like a minimum 10 feet from any property line and 40 feet from any building. Four to six chickens are usually allowed at single-family homes but they are not allowed to slaughter their chickens.

The real question was concerned odor issues. The board members discussed the matter and said that odor will be covered as a nuisance and be added as an item in the ordinance. The law used to be that livestock was not permitted unless through special use permit, and the law will now be discussed to keep up to six chickens by right as long as they meet new requirements.

Horses were the next topic discussed, evaluating the potential impact and how many parcels would be allowed per home. The idea is that, by special use permit, the minimum stands would be two acres per horse and then one additional acre required per additional horse. The discussed maximum horses allowed would be four horses because of the amount of manure that may be considered a nuisance.

The board agreed to take each request case by case for special use permit regarding horses and chickens. All items discussed in the agenda will be addressed in a public hearing on Nov. 8.

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