Harford County Council Approves Agricultural Preservation Resolutions, Plans To Make It Easier To Raise Backyard Chickens
HARFORD COUNTY - Last week, the Harford County Council approved 12 agricultural preservation resolutions, allowing the county to buy up to 2,223 acres of agricultural land across 12 properties for preservation.
The land purchases will cost the county an estimated $13.8 million, provided by the Agricultural Preservation Fund. The fund is paid for using transfer taxes; a percentage fee levied whenever a property changes hands. After the purchases, the fund will have a remaining balance of ~$6.7 million, according to fiscal notes.
The properties scheduled for preservation have yet to be announced.
Additionally, the council is considering a bill that would make raising chickens in residents' backyards easier.
With the inflated price of eggs, several Maryland counties have eased restrictions around "backyard chickens. Bill No. 113-21, "Backyard Chickens," was passed by the Baltimore County Council in February 2022.
The Harford County bill would define "coop" in the county code and redefine "domestic animal" to exclude chickens.
Under the current county code, chickens are considered livestock, making it difficult for residents to obtain permission to own backyard chickens. Under the new definition, chickens would be reclassified as "domestic animals."
The bill would also establish minimum lot sizes and other requirements for owning chicken coops.
A public hearing for the bill is scheduled for May 2.