Pataskala City Council on Sept. 17 heard the first reading of an ordinance to allow small farm animals -- including bees, chickens, ducks and rabbits -- to be kept on city lots less than 5 acres.
The legislation, which excludes hoofed animals, will be reviewed at 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24, by City Council's agriculture committee.
Several council members raised questions about the ordinance, which would allow four adult animals for every 7,000 square feet of property and two more animals for each additional 7,000 square feet, according to City Planner Dianne Harris.
Four bee hives would be allowed on 7,000 square feet, with two more hives allowed for each additional 7,000 square feet.
Harris said the legislation includes provisions for fences and shrubbery to provide a barrier to neighboring homes.
Council President Dan Hayes said if each bee hive contained between 35,000 and 70,000 bees, eight hives -- or a half-million bees -- could be allowed on 1 acre, which is equal to 43,560 square feet.
"I'm all for bolstering the population of bees," Hayes said. "They do great things.
"But half a million bees in a residential yard in the middle of town may not be a good idea."
On the other hand, Councilman Mike Compton said, council might consider allowing more animals on smaller lots if the animals are temporary and being used by Future Farmers of America students or those taking part in 4-H activities.
"I think we may need to look at this on a case-by-case basis," Compton said.
Many traditional farm animals would be excluded because the ordinance, as written, does not allow hoofed animals.
Resident Eileen DeRolf of Refugee Road said a horse, for example, would need only about 1 acre. She said encouraging children to keep animals teaches responsibility and maintains the rural atmosphere of the area.
Councilman Bernard Brush, chairman of the agriculture committee, said the city may need to amend the ordinance and consider changing the number and type of animals allowed for 2- to 5-acre lots and lots less than 2 acres.