Franklin County Working on New Regulations for Backyard Chickens, Ducks and Rabbits
For those urban farmers residing outside of city limits but within Franklin County (that means you, township residents), there are currently significant barriers to raising small farm animals like chickens, ducks or rabbits. Under current zoning, such small-scale farming is considered an agricultural use; it is prohibited on lots smaller than an acre and severely restricted on lots between one and five acres. County planners are working on a set of new regulations now to change that, and they hope the new zoning amendment will help to promote what they see as a healthy, green and economical practice.
The Franklin County Board of Commissioners sees this effort as complementing other food-related projects that they have supported, such as ECDI’s Food Fort, funding for community gardens, and an initiative aimed at getting healthy food into corner stores.
The County is currently working on a final draft amendment, which it will send out to its lengthy list of stakeholders for review. The stakeholder group, which includes Local Matters, MORPC, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association and many others, has been consulted throughout the process. If all goes according to plan, the adoption process should start this spring, at which point a schedule for public meetings on the proposed regulations will be posted on Franklin County’s website.
Photo by Anne Evans.