Pittsfield, MA

By MichaelJ82 · Mar 4, 2013 · Updated Mar 4, 2013 ·
  1. MichaelJ82
    Pittsfield Massachusetts Chicken Ordinance

    Are Chickens Allowed in this location
    Yes. The keeping of chickens as pets and for egg productions in a residential zone shall be for non-commercial use. The keeping of chickens for meat production and on-site slaughtering shall not be allowed.

    If the applicant is not the owner of the property, the applicant must acquire written permission from the owner for the intended use.
    Max Chickens AllowedThe number of chickens kept in residential zones shall be limited to no more than six (6) animals. For parcels exceeding 1 acre, the Zoning Board of Appeals may waive this limit.
    Roosters AllowedNo roosters or crowing chickens shall be allowed in Pittsfield.
    Permit Required
    Yes. The application fee is $200 and $111.50 for advertising costs [publishing the permit request in the news paper]. The permit approval remains attached to the property permanently. [$311.50]

    Building permits are also required when constructing a new coop [considered accessory buildings].
    Coop Restrictions
    Chickens shall be kept within a coop and enclosure at all times. Coops shall provide a minimum of three (3) square feet of coop space per animal, shall be lined with organic bedding material (i.e. hay, litter, sawdust, etc...) and shall provide sufficient ventilation. Enclosures shall provide eight (8) square feet of enclosure space per animal.

    Coops and enclosures must be located a minimum of twenty (20) feet from any habitable building, or habitable portion of a building, forty (40) feet from any well heads or open bodies of water, and ten (10) feet from property lines. Coops and enclosures must conform to all regulations pertaining to accessory buildings.

    The coop and enclosure and chickens therein shall not disturb neighboring residents due to noise, odor, damage or threats to public health. Coops and enclosures shall be constructed and maintained in a safe and sanitary condition.

    Section 9.101 Restrictions, Accessory Buildings or Uses
    D. An accessory building may be located in any district within the required rear yard or outside of required side yard of the principal building, and it shall not be located nearer to any street line that the minimum setback in the zoning district in which it is located.

    No accessory building, in any district, which is not of fireproof construction, as dfined in the "Building Code", shall be within less than ten (10) feet of any side or rear lot line.

    E. Any accessory building in a Residence District shall not exceed fifteen (15) feet in height above the ground level, and it shall not be located nearer than ten (10) feet to the principal building or occupy more than ten (10) percent of the total lot area.
    City/Organization Contact name
    Nate Joyner
    Permitting Coordinator
    Pittsfield Department of Community Development
    [email protected]
    (413) 448-9673

    [Can prepare and provide a map showing you where the guidelines would permit a coop and enclosure to be located. It is basically a Google Map shot of your property with the allowed are hashed over. This proved helpful to me.]
    Additional Information
    Feed shall be stored indoors in secured containers to prevent the intrusion of rodents and non-household animals.

    Refuse from the chickens (inclusive of feces, bedding materials and associated debris) shall be taken to a regulated sanitation facility for disposal on a weekly basis. The use of chicken feces as a fertilizing material is allowed for the applicants own use, but is not allowed to be stored or accumulated on the property. The use of chicken manure as a fertilizer shall be discontinued if noxious odors are reported and substantiated by the Board of Health.

    Upon notification by the Building Inspector or Board of Health that they have concerns pertaining to noise, noxious odors, or any condition affecting the health and public safety of the residents of the neighborhood, the Zoning Board of Appeals shall have the right to, upon notification to the property owner, schedule and hold a public hearing to review and if determined to be in the best interest of the community revoke the Special Permit.

    In order to avoid complaints being filed or difficulty during the approval hearing, Nate Joyner recommends that anyone considering keeping chickens, first speak directly with their neighbors to make sure there are no concerns or surprises. When it comples time for the hearing for approval, it is also helpful if you can provide letters of support from abutting neighbors (or better yet, have them appear in person if available). This can be a simple form letter stating support for the project as long as the neighbor signs it and states their address.
    Link for more Information
    I can email this information in PDF form as I received it from Nate Joyner.
    I also have a copy of the Application for the Zoning Board of Appeals, which approves the Special Permit requests under Article 23 Section 9.204 of the City's Zoning Ordinance for keeping chickens. The Board required that you comply with the guidelines [above] when granting approval.
    Information Last UpdatedMarch 4, 2013

    NOTE: This information was submitted by a member of our chicken forum. Please make sure to double check that this information is accurate before you proceed with raising chickens. You can read more info about checking local laws here.

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