Blacksburg looking at the idea of chickens in certain residential neighborhoods within town limits

By Irisha Jones - Reporter

BLACKSBURG, Va.- - A new ordinance to allow backyard chickens is in the works. For more than 20 years, people living in the rural areas of Blacksburg with at least two acres of land have been allowed to own chickens.

Zoning administrator Paul Patterson says the town is looking to expand this to the Bennett Hill-Progress Street neighborhood in town.

"It's kind of the older part of town that has several different zoning districts, which allows us to look and think about if the program can work in a bigger area," said Patterson. 

The draft proposal ordinance will allow chickens in smaller lots. It would limit how many hens a household can have, unlike the rural areas, where the number is unlimited. 

"Basically it will allow up to four chickens and you would have to have an application, registration and a chicken pen with a maximum of 128 square feet," said Patterson.

The senior planner and zoning administrator says it would be a trial program for one year to see how the plan works out. They've looked at how other localities in the commonwealth, such as Christiansburg allow the keeping of chickens in residential neighborhoods. 

"It's part of the buy local program that people have. Sustainability to try to attempt you to raise your own food. To allow people to produce chickens and consume the eggs," said Patterson.

The next step is having the public weigh in on the idea. The town council is expected to review the proposed ordinance in April.

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