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Council set to talk turkey about chickens

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – City Council formally takes up the question at tonight’s council meeting on whether to allow chickens and other types of fowl in city limits for personal use or small-scale agricultural purposes.

Recently, a group of city residents requested that the city revisit its code prohibiting chickens, as well as ducks, turkeys, geese and other small farm animals within city limits.

Glenwood Springs city planner A’Lissa Gerum has compiled a report outlining the issue. It includes information on the background of the ban and its intended purpose, pros and cons of letting residents keep chickens, and several courses of direction for City Council to consider.



“Urban chickens are growing in popularity as part of the local food movement,” Gerum writes in her report. “The attractions of growing chickens are that they allow for greater participation in food production, increased food security, reduced carbon footprint, pest control, diversion of food scraps into chicken feed rather than the landfill, and eggs tasting better than store bought.

“The raising of chickens, other fowl, and pygmy goats is increasing in urban areas across the country and is now allowed under certain conditions in a number of cities,” she said.



Elsewhere in the area, Carbondale, Silt and Rifle allow residents to keep a limited number of chickens and other fowl, either by special-use permit or under established regulations. In some cases, adult roosters have been banned due to noise complaints.

Gerum cites the various rules in those communities, as well as from other communities around Colorado and in other states, for the Glenwood Springs council to consider.

“Residential zoning regulations across the country have historically been very restrictive about uses seen as potentially incompatible with residential neighborhoods, including the raising of food animals,” Gerum also writes in the report. “This restrictiveness protects the quiet aura of residential neighborhoods but also limits the use of the home.”

She addresses several issues for council to consider in its discussion, including those related to neighborhood character, covenant restrictions, enforcement, conflicts with wildlife, potential health issues, noise and odor, and commercial sales.

One proponent of allowing chickens in Glenwood Springs, Jennifer Vanian, has proposed rules that would permit up to six hens per household, but no roosters.

The chickens would have to be kept in covered outdoor pens, with fencing buried six inches into the ground to prevent escapes and keep out predators, she proposes.

Also on Glenwood Springs City Council’s agenda today is a morning work session on bear-proof trash receptacles at 11:30 a.m. and a 4 p.m. work session on the 2012 city budget.

In addition to the chicken discussion, the 6 p.m. regular session includes possible action on a resolution stating the city’s goals for the Grand Avenue Bridge project, a resolution related to fire and ambulance service fees, and an ordinance amendment extending the sunset provision on the temporary placement of real estate open house signs.

Council packet information for today’s meeting can be found at the city of Glenwood Springs website, http://www.cogs.us/.

jstroud@postindependent.com


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