Photo credit: Tracy Halladay

Thursday, April 28, 2011

City Council Approval

A vote was taken and it passed 3 to 1!  The city council minutes look like they are from the March 17th meeting.  I posted what was listed in the Box Elder News Journal previously, but they didn't indicate a vote was taken.

The pertinant text is below.

Consideration to Allow Chickens in Residential Neighborhoods
Mr. Bradley approached the Council and explained that will affect two titles of the City Code – Title 29, Zoning, which would make reference to allow chickens in residential zones, and regulated in Title 4, Animals and Fowl. There would be a $10 permit fee that must be renewed every two years. If the Council agrees to proceed with this, Mr. Bradley will bring back an ordinance for approval.

Chief Tittensor stated that he is opposed to allowing chickens in residential neighborhoods, mainly because the Police Department is not equipped to enforce it. There is a $10 registration fee, but there are no penalties for not registering. Nor is there any penalty for having too many chickens. He was concerned what will happen if there is a chicken running at large, and where they will be placed if they are caught. Mayor Fife felt there should be some kind of penalty if citizens do not comply with the ordinance. Councilmember Ericson felt that citizens are going to have chickens whether there is an ordinance or not, so an ordinance will track them.

Councilmember Ericson made a motion stating that the Council supports the idea of an ordinance allowing and regulating chickens in residential zones, and requested staff to bring the ordinance back to the Council with regulations and penalties if the regulations are not enforced. The motion was seconded by Councilmember Jensen. Councilmember Ericson, Councilmember Jensen and Councilmember Marabella voted aye. Councilmember Vincent voted nay. The motion carried 3-1.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

2011 Tour de Coops

For several years now, Wasatch Gardens in Salt Lake has sponsored an annual "Tour de Coops" in Salt Lake.  This has focused on people with interesting (and diverse) coops for their urban chickens in the downtown, University and Sugarhouse areas.  We went last year and didn't have time to see them all.  To make things more difficult, this year they are expanding and will have two seperate tours.  One for "Downtown" and one for "South Valley" (anything south of 2700 South).

This was very fun for the whole family.  We saw large coops, small coops, coops from reclaimed lumber, doors, windows and professionally built coops.  It is great if you are looking for ideas on how to upgrade your own hen's living quarters. 

Below are some that I took pictures of last year (Click on photos to see them full-sized):

Here is one I didn't take the picture of but wish that I had.  It was a very interesting hen house!

The South Valley Tour will be June 18th.  The 6th annual Downtown Tour will be the following Saturday June 25th.  For more information and to register for these tours go visit Wasatch Gardens Events page and scroll down to the June events or click the links I have added below:

These events are all good for beginners as well as seasoned chicken gurus!  Go, take your family and enjoy some of these community-oriented events...you'll be glad you did.  Maybe Brigham City will have our own some day!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

City Council

The Brigham City Council had their first discussion about residential chickens on Tuesday March 29.  This was their first formal discussion although I have discussed the matter personally with several council members.

The Box Elder News Journal reported in the March 30 edition, "Police Chief Paul Tittensor is concerned about the chicken policy because of the lack of regulations and a punishment in the request."

I don't agree with that since the punishment would be the same as any other punishment for pet owners listed in the current city code.  There shouldn't be a need for a seperate punishment for offending chicken owners.

According to the News Jornal Chief Tittensor went on to say, "I don't think Brigham City is ready to have chickens because we don't have the means to provide safety for residents.  We only have one Animal Control officer and we would have to hire more."

Here he spoke of two issues, public safety and a budget issue of hiring more staff.

First, "Public Safety":  Serious?  Safety against pet chickens?  I'm sorry, but I think this is just some type of fear tactic...I'm not sure what he is thinking of.

Second, the budget issue of hiring more Animal Control officers; are there really that many of us in Brigham City that more officers would be required?  I don't think so.  I know laws are for the small percentage who don't practice wisdom and prudence, but I can't see the numbers are very large at all.  This is another scare tactic, this time directed at the Mayor and  Council.  The last thing they want to see is expenditures increase.  There is a small part of the ordinance as presented by the planning commission which would require chicken owners to  pay a $10 registry fee every two years.  I wouldn't classify this as a revenue stream but it is something.

If chicken owners are responsible and follow the ordinance odds are their neighbors won't even know they have chickens in their back yard and there will be few if any complaints.  Sharing eggs with your friends can go a long way to promote acceptance.

There was a comment in the article about preventing the spreading of disease.  Just like any animal owner, chicken owners would be responsible for this as well.  There are MANY websites out there with great resources and information for keeping your flock healthy.  Here is one by the USDA.  You can download a PDF of a 2011 "Backyard Biosecurity: Keeping Your Birds Healthy" Calendar on their site or directly by clicking on the previous link.