Don't start counting your eggs just yet.
After a lengthy discussion during Monday night's meeting, Annapolis City Council delayed making a decision on an ordinance that would allow residents to keep chickens in their yard.
Council members heard from a half-dozen residents who supported allowing chickens and then debated several amendments for about an hour. The changes they adopted were deemed significant enough that council wanted to put the matter up for another public hearing.
The ordinance was pushed to a meeting in April.
"I'm pleased the process is still moving forward," Mayor Josh Cohen said.
The ordinance would allow a resident to have up to five chickens—not roosters—on their property. It also calls for residents to provide a "sturdy coop and an attached, secure enclosure set back at least five (5) feet from the property line."
Some of the amendments Monday night included eliminating the property-line setback to allow neighbors who may be interested in sharing a coop to do so.
Another amendment would put a system of inspections in place and require residents to receive approval from all abutting neighbors. It also would put into place fees to keep the chickens.
Council also passed an amendment introduced by Cohen that would repeal the ordinance in three years, essentially making the effort a pilot program. Cohen had also suggested amending the ordinance to limit the number of residents allowed to have chickens to 24.
The amendment also would have used a lottery system to choose the residents if more than 24 were interested. The mayor withdrew the amendment, meaning as it stands there are no restrictions on the number of people who could have a coop.
"I've had more calls on this bill than I had on the proposal to increase the tax rate," Alderman Richard Israel said.
Israel also said he was against postponing a vote Monday night.
"I think we spent enough time on this issue," he said. "And there will be a review of this at the end of three years."
Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson said she didn't feel as if council had sufficient information to make a decision and welcomed the chance to gather more information and hear from more residents.
"I've received nothing but negative comments," she said. "They don't come here, they call me."
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