City could allow backyard chickens

VERGENNES — City Planning Commission Chairman Neil Curtis discussed at the Oct. 27 city council meeting two issues planners have dealt with in recent months: backyard chickens and off-site sandwich boards.
Essentially, Curtis said planners believe that all chickens are illegal under current zoning, but that new laws could offer room for compromise.
“That’s something we’d like to consider changing for smaller numbers,” he said, noting planners also believe aldermen should consider a “nuisance ordinance” for backyard fowl violations rather than harder-to-enforce zoning provisions.
Planners also want to allow some form of off-site sandwich boards for side-street businesses, Curtis said, another practice illegal under current zoning law.
Finally, with a zoning rewrite on tap after the recent approval of a new city plan, Curtis reported that grant money to support the process has “evaporated.” He said planners have quotes in hand for about $15,000 for consultation on the full rewrite, or roughly $5,000 for help on the major issues: creating the new Northern Gateway district and writing standards on size and setbacks for buildings in downtown and in the new Historic Neighborhood district.
Curtis said he might speak to aldermen in the future about finding funding for the rewrite.

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