An addition to the Belfast code of ordinances that would allow domesticated chickens in several zones where they have previously been prohibited got final approval from the City Council Aug. 3.

Under the revised code, up to six hens would be permitted on any property within four residential zones inside the bypass where they have been prohibited, provided the property owner keeps them in a henhouse and coop approved by the city’s code enforcement officer and complies with several other regulations.

Chickens would continue to be prohibited in the downtown commercial district and waterfront areas. The new ordinance does not affect rural zones where agriculture and livestock are already permitted.

Applicants would have to pay a one-time fee, and would be prohibited from selling eggs or fertilizer made from the chicken manure, from slaughtering chickens outdoors or allowing chickens inside buildings other than the approved coop and henhouse.

In previous discussions, City Planner Wayne Marshall noted that there had been several complaints about illegal chickens, including a complaint of a rooster crowing and another regarding free-ranging chickens. Both roosters and free-ranging chickens would be prohibited under the new ordinance.

Keeping hens would be limited to occupants of single-family homes and owner-occupants of properties with multiple units. Allowing chickens in multifamily dwellings was discussed by the Council at a previous meeting, but was deemed too complicated to enforce.

On Tuesday, the Council decided that to minimize impact on adjacent properties the coop should not be lit at night. Lighting on a motion detector, Marshall said, is sometimes used to ward off predators.

With the passage of the new ordinance, Belfast joins several Midcoast municipalities to embrace what are often referred to as “backyard chickens.” On June 8, Thomaston voters easily passed an ordinance allowing up to 12 chickens or small animals with similar restrictions to those just approved in Belfast.

Last July, Camden voted to allow up to nine hens or other small animals on lots up to 2.5 acres. Brunswick has allowed backyard chickens since late 2009.