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Want to raise chickens in Pittsfield? The cost of a permit just got a lot cheaper

chickens in backyard

A rules change in Pittsfield will allow residents to own chickens for $25 a year, after a vote by the City Council, drastically reducing the costs for special permitting that were previously in place.

PITTSFIELD — City residents who want to raise chickens can now do so at a greatly reduced cost. 

The City Council voted to adopt an amendment Tuesday to the city zoning ordinance allowing residents to keep up to six chickens for a $25 annual permit, following a brief public hearing.

The total cost of permitting previously amounted to around $560. It included an application fee to the Board of Appeals, a legal announcement fee and a deed amendment fee.

Councilor Karen Kalinowsky laid out the issue of the cost of permitting in a letter to her fellow councilors. 

“These fees make it hard or impossible for some families to raise chickens for egg production to help feed their families,” her letter reads.

Kalinowksy’s proposed fee of $25 for the permit was inspired by an ordinance in Palmer, which she included a copy of in her letter.

The amendment establishes the keeping of six chickens for noncommercial purposes “as of right” for Pittsfield residents. The move was also recommended by the Community Development Board.

The rules for safely keeping chickens in the city will remain the same. The amendment will simply reduce the cost for residents interested in keeping chickens.

Matt Martinez can be reached at mmartinez@berkshireeagle.com.

News Reporter

Matt Martinez is a news reporter at The Berkshire Eagle. He worked at Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, graduated Marquette University. He is a former Report for America corps member.

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