Watertown residents can keep chickens and bees on their property, but the rules could be changing at an upcoming meeting of the Board of Health.
The Watertown Health Department sent out the following announcement:
The Board of Health will hold a public hearing on an updated “Regulation Governing the Keeping of Animals” and a new “Regulation Governing the Keeping of Hens and Honey Bees,” on April 20, 2016, starting at 7:30 p.m., in the 3rd Floor Conference Room of the Town Administration Building, 149 Main St., Watertown. Comments on the updated animal regulation will be heard first. The second regulation will be divided into a discussion on the keeping of hens first with the keeping of honey bees immediately following.
The primary changes to the existing animal regulation include removing the section on chickens; the addition of specific definitions of animals; and specifying that ten pigeons per applicant will be permitted. The notification process now includes abutters to abutters within 300 feet to be consistent with other zoning requirements.
Like nearby communities, Boston, Somerville and Cambridge, the Board is proposing to allow backyard hens and honey bee hives under this new regulation. The regulation, in general, will allow up to six hens and/or two honey bee hives per lot depending on the size and location. The regulation requires notification of those living on properties that touch the applicant’s property and the Board will hold a hearing on each application.
Copies of these regulations can be obtained from the Health Department on the 1st floor of the Town Administration Building, 149 Main St., Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. or download them from the Town website at ci.watertown.ma.us. Click on Health; Related Documents; then on Draft Regulations in the left hand column under Health.
Questions can be addressed to the Health Department staff at 617-972-6446. Written comments must be received in the Health office at the above address no later than 4 p.m. on April 20.