GREAT NEWS in Montgomery County, MD!

chateau poulet

Nov 19, 2011
Washington DC suburbs
We just got through the first step in changing our BYC zoning code, and got a great result!

The old zoning required 100 feet from a house and 25 feet from a property line.
The new code requires the hen-house to be 5 feet from property line and 15 feet from a neighboring residence, and limits us to 8 hens.

This is for our "suburban lot" residential zones, averaging 6,000 sq feet. True back yard chickens!
So exciting! Now we just have to shepherd it through the final steps to official approval.

They had tried to push through 25 feet from property line.
Then 20 feet from property line, but included all fences associated with the hens (the pen).

Finally, they decided that allowing chickens was the modern thing to do, and that making it difficult is out of date with modern desires and values. (cheers from the audience!!) So they switched course and went with our request, of 5 feet from property line for hen house, consistent with the rules for dog houses, sheds, etc.

Wonderful! I hope it gets passed so you can have some chickens, are they allowing Roosters? That is nice about the 5 ft, I live in a city that allows up to 10 chickens but they have to be 50 ft from a neighbors house ( can't remember how far for your own home). my lot is around 50 x 100 I had a perfect spot but it was too close to my neighbors, so I took up space in an area I didn't want to use for a coop but I am thankful I can keep chickens! So excited for you!
Chateau Poulet,

I am a new member on this site and also live in Montgomery County. I was wondering if there was any update to your above post? Is there a place, website, to read about this possible change?

I live in Damascus and have almost 2 acres, but I want to make positively sure that I will be okay with a small coop, possibly 4 hens. Although I live in a neighborhood where all homes have 1-2 acres, I have one particular neighbor that starts trouble with everyone about everything. I have looked at everything I can find on the internet but can't seem to find anything that is completely clear about the laws for this in Montgomery County.

I plan to stop by the Animal Control office to ask in person, but was just wondering if you had made any further progress.

Thanks in advance for any info..
[email protected]

So glad to hear from you! I recently started a yahoo-group listserv to help connect all of us Montgomery County (see above). It would be great to have you join, so we can let you know quickly if there are any concerning changes.

Do you know what zone your lot is (R-60, R-90, RE-1, etc.)? If our version of the new code passes the County Council in Feb/March, you can have 8 hens with a coop 5 feet from your property line. And some zones will allow more, if you qualify for the new "farming" piece of the code.

The only residual challenge is that the Animal Control code has a little known bit about AVIARIES that could cause trouble for you if you have a bad neighbor. It says any "aviary" must be 100 feet from a house, and possibly 25 feet from the property line. Once the new Zoning code is passed, we will work with the county to bring the Animal Control rules in line with the Zoning rules.

Please email me directly so we can keep you in the loop! kaverbeck(at)gmail(dot)com


Here's the new verbage which has passed the Planning Board, and is now going to the County Council for final approval.

Animal Husbandry
1. Defined

Animal husbandry is the accessory practice of raising hens, ducks, miniature
goats, rabbits, and bees.

2. Use Standards
Where animal husbandry is allowed as a limited use, it is subject to the following
a. Any accessory structure used to house hens, ducks, miniature
goats, or rabbits must meet the setback requirements of an accessory
structure for the zone.
b. One miniature goat may be kept for every 2,000 square feet of land area
and one hen, duck, or rabbit may be kept for every 1,000 square feet of
land area. A combined total of 8 animals is allowed per lot.
c. Roosters are prohibited.
d. In the CRN, CRT, CR, GR, NR, LSC, EOF, IM, and IH zones, only bees are
Hi, I am also a new forum member from Montgomery County (Silver Spring). I tried to sign up on your MontCo list but didn't quite figure it out. We currently have 4 hens and will soon be adding 4 more. Two other families on our block also have chickens, so in general it is a pretty chicken-friendly neighborhood.
Yay! So glad to know another chicken person in the area! I'd love to have you join the local listserv. Have you joined a yahoo group before? If not, you'll have to set up a yahoo account first. Then, once that's activated, you can click [JOIN THIS GROUP] to join ours. If you send me your email, I can send an invite directly to you, or you can click this link:
[email protected]

Right now, our main focus is making sure this new code goes through, but we've also helped to re-home hens, including a temporary placement following a citation from Animal Control for one member. It's great to have a local group to support each other!

Please let me know if you need help getting on.
Chateau Poulet,

I have tried everything to join the Yahoo group but can't find it. There are a couple of other Backyardchickens groups on there, but "[email protected]" is unrecognized. I do have a yahoo account and am a member of another group. Not sure what's up. If there is a way for you to send me the invitation that would be great. You should have my email address from my previous email to you.

Thanks in advance,

Hi, Joe!
I'm sorry, I can't find your email anywhere, only your BYC username. I think your email address is protected, since our communications have been through postings here.
If you search yahoo groups with -- backyardchickensmontgomerycountymd --- it should pop up. Otherwise please email me offline - kaverbeck(at)gmail(dot)com.
I'm excited to have you join the group, so we can all get connected locally! :) We'd love to have a Tour of Coops once this zoning gets passed! Seeing other people's coops is always fun, and a great way to get ideas for improving our own!
Hi Karin,

Finally got it! My membership request at yahoogroups just went through. Looking forward to following how the zoning venture goes!


New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom