CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Charleston residents would be allowed to keep and raise hens and bees in city limits under a measure officials advanced Wednesday.
Members of the Charleston Municipal Planning Commission were unanimous in their support for the ordinance, which would allow residents to keep up to three beehives and six hens.
Commission member Mary Jean Davis said she was surprised how many people are already conducting limited agriculture on their property.
The ordinance also seeks to protect neighboring residents from excessive noise, odor or other nuisances. Larger farm operations -- not including community or home gardens -- would require approval from the Board of Zoning Appeals. Those operations would also need permits to erect structures and are only allowed in certain commercial zones.
Operations must be well maintained and cannot interfere with traffic. Henhouses, hens and beehives would not be allowed in front yards.
Roosters would still be prohibited, except in special circumstances.
Geoff Plagemann, neighborhood planner with the city Planning Department, was the author of the ordinance. He said it is largely based on similar laws in other cities, and that he has revised it several times over the last few months to address resident concerns.