The Aberdeen City Council heard a request to let residents keep chickens, among other issues, at Monday night's meeting.
Frank Turner said he lives on Chesapeake Court with his wife, two children and six chickens they keep as pets and use the eggs.
Last Friday, however, he got a notice from code enforcement advising him it is illegal to keep and raise poultry in Aberdeen.
Turner explained he recently moved from Seattle, where he said people are allowed to keep up to eight chickens, and pointed out that residents in other jurisdictions, including Baltimore and Annapolis, can also have poultry.
"They're very clean animals and help control the insect population," Turner said.
Turner asked the council to consider a change to the zoning code allowing poultry use in Aberdeen.
The council did not seem especially keen on the request, but Mayor Mike Bennett explained the city would have to introduce a new ordinance to make that change.
Turner said he would like to offer his services in creating such an ordinance.
"I have grown up around animals all my life," he said.
Fire hydrants, presentations
The council approved an ordinance allowing fire hydrants to be used according to the policy of the public works department, instead of specifying that the city manager or representatives are authorized to use hydrants.
A charter resolution for the Gilbert Road annexation was also introduced.
Mark Schlottman presented $500 on behalf of the Aberdeen Lions Club to the Earth Day committee, noting the Earth Day celebration has grown each year. He also urged county officials to come out to the event as well as those in the city.
On behalf of the city's election committee, he also presented city clerk Monica Correll with an award and a bouquet for being named the municipal clerk of the year. He was joined by two other election committee members, Mary Law and Gina Bantam.
Yvonne Gabriel, a teacher at the Science and Math Academy, said 13 students analyzed trees at Festival Park and said those trees alone have helped the city save more than $1,000 in energy costs and mitigate 116,000 gallons of stormwater.
She also said the Academy would love to help with the city's burgeoning "Green Team."
Paul Kertis, of Windemere Drive, asked why no paving was being done on a portion of Beards Hill Road, said that he did not get his new Aberdeen newsletter for May until June and asked if the council could look into noise issues, like train whistles.
Bennett said he believes train conductors are required to blow the whistle and was familiar with the noise, as someone who also lives right by the tracks.
About the roads, he explained the city has a road-repair schedule.
"If you think the road's in bad shape, believe me, there's another road that's in worse shape," he said.
City Manager Doug Miller admitted that the city's first attempt at its newsletter did not get to residents in time.
"We do acknowledge the first time out the gate, we're learning, it's a work in progress," he said.
Councilman Bruce Garner said he also understood noise issues, living on Route 22.
"I sympathize with you on your train whistle, but if you hear a 'jake brake' on a truck 12 times a night, it'll bring you out of bed also," Garner said.
Frank Turner, who asked about the chickens earlier, also asked the council's permission to shoot a groundhog on his property, which would violate the city's rules against discharging a firearm.
Garner said he had the same problem with groundhogs, and animal control was able to remove them.
"If you contact animal control, they will come out and trap your groundhog," he said.
Police chief Henry Trabert thanked those who attended a recent neighborhood event in Swan Meadows, including the kids who came by to eat hot dogs or hamburgers and watch a K-9 demonstration.
"If you go through Swan Meadows right now, you realize the neighborhood has changed drastically in the past couple of years," Trabert said. "It looks really nice, the lawns are kept nice, so we just wanted to keep it looking good."
Public Works Director Matt Lapinsky said the state recently sent out a flyer in the mail about a BRAC-related improvement project scheduled for Route 22, which has yet to get any funding.
He said public works has been working with the state on the design, but suggests residents attend a meeting scheduled for June 27 at Aberdeen High School on the project.
Garner said he has seen some inconsistent grass mowing on state roads, and asked if the council could mow them. He was told "absolutely not," because of liability concerns.
He said it did seem some state employees, however, were occasionally mowing grass.
"I sympathize with you on your train whistle, but if you hear a jake brake on a truck 12 times a night, it'll bring you out of bed also"; know they're illegal
He and Bennett attended a food tasting held for ticket holders at Ripken Stadium, and said the new food service by Double Play Dining made a big difference.
"You could actually taste the hamburgers. It was delicious. It wasn't a piece of cardboard," he said.
Bennett also said he has met with stadium staff regarding the parade they plan to put on at 11 a.m. on Aug. 11 for the Ripken World Series.
He again noted that those attending the event around the world are talking about "the road to Aberdeen."
"We want to get it to the point where if someone says Aberdeen, Md., you think of Cal Ripken World Series, and if someone says Cal Ripken World Series, you think of Aberdeen, Md.," he said. "We think we're making some very good headway in that regard."