The Lovettsville Planning Commission was expecting a rare full house for its Wednesday night public hearing on new rules for maintaining livestock in town.

While backyard animals like chickens aren’t permitted in most areas of town, it’s a rule that hasn’t been strictly enforced.

The commission is working to establish authority to permit residents to keep livestock or fowl in town while also setting standards designed to limit the impact on neighbors. One of those rules: no early-morning crowing roosters allowed. But someone with a 2-acre fenced area could have one buffalo or 10 sheep, under the draft ordinance.  

Although the ordinance sets rules for having cattle, ponies, goats and swine, no one in town currently has backyard livestock, according to the town staff.

Several residents do keep chickens, some drawing complaints about the noise and birds running at large off the owners’ properties. The proposed rules would require the birds be kept in a fenced area during the day and kept inside a coop at night. The town also is laying out rules for keeping pens and coops “neat and sanitary,” securing feed from rodents, and disposing of waste.

If the commission supports the regulations following its Sept. 7 public hearing, the issue would move to the Town Council for another hearing and final action. 

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