Northumberland now has a definition for livestock in its zoning ordinance, and with that comes the ability for administrative zoning approval of chickens or livestock with the waterfront residential zoning district under certain conditions.

Before this month, a resident who wanted to have chickens or livestock in an R-2 waterfront zone had to appeal to the board of supervisors for approval of a conditional use. Now, the zoning administrator can approve applications that meet certain criteria.

The purpose of the change was to streamline the process for cases where the number of animals and size of the lot is such that the county doesn’t believe there’s a risk to water quality.

For example, the administrator can provide approval for up to 12 chickens per two acres of waterfront property. But the applicant must meet certain criteria, including not having roosters among the flock, having the birds fenced in and adhering to setbacks. The new regulation allows one livestock animal per five acres and imposes similar criteria on the owner.