Hopewell City Council Approves New Ordinances
By Caitlin Davis
Jul 13, 2012, 13:55
BY CAITLIN DAVIS
July was the start of many new laws and changes to prior ordinances due to decisions made during the General Assembly session of 2012.
One of the changes for Hopewell was to Ordinance 2012-07-Section 18-1. Previously, the ordinance only allowed the city to cut tall grass on unoccupied property.
“Now we are allowed to regulate grass and weeds on occupied property and charge the owner,” City Attorney Thomas Lacheney said.
Council voted unanimously to approve this ordinance.
The second ordinance that council discussed was related to the problem of chickens within the city.
At the last work session on June 26, councilor Michael Bujakowski asked the council to consider the issue of chickens in Hopewell. He said that there were some complaints from residents regarding the birds.
Council decided to have City Manager Ed Daley draft an ordinance to vote on at the regular meeting.
On Tuesday, Daley presented a drafted ordinance amending Ordinance number 2012-05-Section 6-4 (b). The ordinance states chickens must be kept in an enclosure, such as a chicken coop, and that the enclosure must be 10 feet from the property line.
The enclosure, which cannot simply be a fenced-in yard, has to located 75 feet from a residential dwelling or 200 feet from any church or school building. The ordinance also limits the number of chickens a property can have to four and excludes roosters from the city.
The city surveyed many homes in the city and different residential areas before drafting the ordinance. “A” village, Belmont, Farmingdale, Kippax, and Mansion Hill were some of the neighborhoods where yards were surveyed to determine appropriate yardage for chickens.
A few councilors were not pleased with the first draft of the ordinance. Councilor Gerald Stokes said the ordinance was not a win/win for anyone.
“Those four hens without a rooster definitely won’t be happy,” Stokes said.
Council was also not persuaded on the yardage. Many said 75 ft. would make it impossible for many residents to own chickens. Councilor Brenda Pelham made a motion to change the distance to 40 ft., but it was not seconded and died on the floor.
Bujakowski made the motion to change the distance to 45 ft. This was seconded by Pelham and passed with a 6-1 vote, with Vice-Mayor Wayne Walton casting the dissenting vote.
The ordinance, with the amended distance of 45 ft., was passed unanimously by council.