Express your voice!

Public Hearing on Proposed Changes to the County Zoning Law and the Zoning MapDo you think backyard chickens are a good idea for Montgomery County? The new law will be decided in winter 2013.

Attend a public hearing

You can make a difference in our local, county legislation. We need the county council to hear your voice heard at a critical public hearing on the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite (ZTA 13-04) on November 12 or November 14. (See the new draft on the zoning site.)

The hearing is at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 12 (full) and Thursday, Nov. 14 (3 slots open), or you can put yourself on a waiting list.

If you can testify at the public hearing, please call 240-777-7803. Call by 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 11. Spaces are limited. Give your name, and contact info. Your testimony is 3 minutes or less, and can be simple, focusing on your personal experiences. Your testimony is important to show the council that a breadth of reasonable county citizens want backyard chickens. Email us if you want some ideas for taking points.

There’s a small and furious anti-chicken lobby in the county, and if the county council doesn’t hear from us, this negative voice will overpower the discussion, and the law may be redrafted again to make chickens illegal. We want clear rules (not vague comments about “pets” which are open to interpretation), small setbacks to the property line, and a higher limit (12 animals) for large yards.

If you can’t make it to the hearing, we need you to get in touch with your local politicians (see below for info how), and write them a short letter or email, or call.


Who to contact? 

There are 5 districts in Montgomery Country, and every citizen has 5 representatives. Four of your representatives are “at-large”, meaning they represent everyone in the county, and one of your representatives is your district’s, which is shown on this map at right.

If you can’t tell your district on map, enter your address in the Polling Place locator, to find out.

This is the current, 2013 county council:

What to do? 

An effective thing you can do is to mail a short, letter expressing your support for backyard chickens by postal mail. Mail here:

Councilperson’s name
100 Maryland Avenue
Rockville, MD 20850

Alternatively, you can contact them via email or phone. Your letter can be short (just a few sentences) or as detailed as you want. Some key points to make could include:

  • Your name, address and county district.
  • You want backyard chickens to be allowed, with small setbacks (e.g., 5 feet) from the property line, in the new code ordinance.
  • You think a maximum of 8, or a dozen, chickens is a reasonable limit for residential neighborhoods.
  • The aviary rules also need to be updated to allow backyard chickens.
  • You think chickens are good for our community (give some reasons that particularly resonate with you).
  • And anything else you want to say!

Your effort will make a difference! The council wants to make choices that reflect the evolving preferences and ideals of our community. This summer, they will request final revisions to the new code, and vote to make it law. Let’s make the new law make backyard hens legal for Montgomery County, MD!

Stay in the loop

Join an email list for backyard chickens in Montgomery County.

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