Poolesville Adopts Backyard Chicken Ordinance

by MCS Staff

At the February 6th Town Commissioners meeting, the Commissioners formally adopted Ordinance 224, which allows for keeping backyard chickens. To comply with the ordinance, residents who have chickens or would like to purchase them must apply for a permit and submit a site plan and a Chicken Keeper Certificate. The site plan and applications must abide by the following regulations:

  1. A maximum of six chickens may be kept. Roosters are prohibited.

  2. A chicken coop is required. The maximum total gross floor area of all coops shall not exceed 10% of the lot or parcel. The minimum coop size shall be 4 square feet per chicken with a run of 10 square feet per chicken. Coops shall be included as outbuildings/accessory structures in conformity with all other requirements of the Code.

  3. The minimum setback for coops from any lot line is 15 feet.

  4. Coops must be a minimum of 100 feet from any dwelling or principal structure on any adjacent lot or parcel.

  5. Coops must be in the backyard of the property.

  6. A Backyard Chicken Keeper Certificate, or equivalent, shall be required and submitted with any permit application.

  7. Must comply with all other applicable State and County regulations.

*For this Application, the definition of the coop is an area of the backyard used for chickens that include both a housing structure and a run. For the Backyard Chicken Keeper Certificate, the property owner must take a class connected with an institution of higher learning and have a certificate that the owner can submit to the Town. Some examples of these classes are below:

Backyard Chickens – OSU Extension Online Course Catalog (okstate.edu)

Backyard Poultry Basics – UF/IFAS Extension Baker County (instructure.com)

Backyard Urban Chicken Class – UF/IFAS Extension Orange County (instructure.com)

The new ordinance is effective immediately, but residents with chickens have 30 days to comply with the regulations outlined above. To apply for a permit, please use the link below. For the entire ordinance, click here.


Featured photo and photo below courtesy of Olney resident Paulina Kozorosky 


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Sman February 9, 2023 - 1:30 pm

Sounds very authorian, and oppressive.

Matthew February 9, 2023 - 8:18 pm

The coop in the photo at the bottom would be illegal according to this ordinance. Assuming that fence is on the property line, way inside the setbacks. Also, the ordinance run size requirement is a ridiculous 10 sq ft per chicken, so that run is enough for maybe 1 1/2 chickens? It’s a bit blurry, but I’m counting at least 4 in there.

MCS Staff February 9, 2023 - 8:36 pm

Hello, the coop photographed is located in Olney

Matthew February 9, 2023 - 9:04 pm

Actually, I’m wrong about the size of the run. was thinking 100 sq feet rather than 10. But even in Olney that setback isn’t allowed per county code.


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