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Zoning Amendment for CHICKENS!

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The benefits of backyard chickens include a providing a healthy, sustainable source of fresh eggs, nitrogen-rich fertilizer, and non-pesticide bug control in your backyard. It also provides opportunities for families to teach their children about sustainability, healthy food sources, and the care and keeping of pets (this includes being able to join organizations like 4-H).

The current City of Midland Code of Ordinances states:

Sec. 3-40 Animals – Keeping, Harboring, Breeding.

It shall be unlawful to keep, harbor or breed any farm animal as defined in the City of Midland Zoning Ordinance, being Ordinance No. 1585, except (1) farm animals kept in that portion of the city zoned for agricultural purposes, or (2) animals used in a parade or for providing rides on a temporary basis for which a permit has been issued, or (3) animals kept as part of a show or event at the Midland County Fairgrounds, or (4) miniature pigs subject to the provisions of Division 2 of this article.

Per the Zoning Ordinance, the City of Midland defines a farm animal as:
Any animal customarily found in farming operations such as but not limited to all breeds of horses, cows, goats, pheasants, chickens, ducks, geese, sheep, swine (as per City ordinance #1519, Chapter 3) or any other type of poultry or fowl or bees. A farm animal shall also include all animals classified as livestock by the State of Michigan. A farm animal shall not include fish.

In August and September, 2011, the Planning Commission, at the request of Mr. Joseph Fiordaliso, who was cited with having 15 chickens and ducks on his property in the City of Midland, proposed a the following Zoning Text Amendment No. 153 that would:
- Allow up to 6 laying hens or ducks, in single-family districts
- Require issuance of a permit by the City of Midland
- Prohibit the sale or advertisement of fresh eggs
- Regulate the construction materials of enclosures
- Prohibit the slaughtering of animals on site
- Prohibit roosters

Zoning Text Amendment No. 153 was put before the City Council of Midland, Michigan in October, 2011. Despite the recommendation of its approval by the Planning Commission, and significant resident support, the Council voted down this amendment. There continues to be significant public support in the City of Midland to warrant this text coming before the Council again.

In addition, the continuing movement in the region, state and nation, to live a greener lifestyle, continues to support and promote the keeping of backyard chickens.

Backyard chicken keeping can enhance our community. The concern of ‘bad apples’ can be addressed with the following two quotes:

Every kind of peaceful cooperation among men is primarily based on mutual trust and only secondarily on institutions such as courts of justice and police.
— Albert Einstein

This world of ours... must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower

This GoFundMe is raising funds to pay for the re-introduction of this amendment to the Planning Commission and the Midland City Council.  The fee to submit a Petition for Zoning Text Amendment is $325.00.  With funding, the petition will be submitted by March 20th, to be heard at a Public Hearing on April 14, 2015.  Any additional funds that may be raised will be distributed as grants to applicants wanting to start backyard chicken keeping in the event that the amendment is approved.  The in the event that the amendment is not approved, any surplus funds will be donated to the Midland 100 Club.


Cara Cron Baker
Midland, MI

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