OCEANPORT: Whether or not borough residents will be allowed to keep chickens in their backyards will be decided next month.
The Oceanport Council will vote on what has become a highly-debated topic during its April 20 meeting when an amendment to the borough's animal and zoning ordinances is up for second reading and public hearing.
The council introduced the ordinance during its March 16 meeting with Councilmen Joe Irace, Stuart Briskey and Steve Solan voting against its introduction and council members Ellyn Kahle, Richard Gallo and Patty Cooper voting for it. Mayor Jay Coffey broke the tie with a yes vote and said he wanted to hear more discussion on the matter.
The ordinance states that in order to raise chickens a permit license must be obtained from the borough clerk for a fee of $10 along with "accompanied proof of an education class on the keeping of poultry."
It would allow a maximum of 6 hens and prohibits the keeping of roosters. A minimum lot size of 351 feet per hen would be required to keep chickens on a resident's property. The ordinance also has stringent guidelines for the type of shelters needed to keep the hens and also prohibits the slaughtering of chickens.
One resident in attendance at the March 16 meeting spoke out against the ordinance while others have voiced their dissatisfaction with it on Facebook.
However, other residents on Facebook have spoken about the positives about keeping chickens and have even gone as far as to create a Facebook group called Oceanport Backyard Chicken Supporters, which currently has nearly 100 members.