Coming home to roost

Glenn Wallace
Posted

Backyard farming just became easier in Jefferson County.

The Board of County Commissioners voted a unanimous 3-0 on March 26 in support of opening up the backyard animal special permit process to all residentially zoned single family detached, or two-family dwelling in the county.

The owner of the animals will be required to apply for a miscellaneous permit, giving the county a chance to make sure basic health and safety standards are maintained.

The permit system and the county’s requirements were based on existing chicken and bee rules that are already in effect for Denver area municipalities, including some in Jefferson County.

Those wanting to raise chickens or bees will have to have a minimum lot size of 4,000 square feet. Only six chickens total, or one bee colony per 4,000 square feet will be allowed.

“If we are complaint driven (code enforcement), what incentive is there for people to get a permit prior to getting a complaint?” District 2 Commissioner Casey Tighe asked staff during the hearing.

“If someone does have a zoning violation, we double the fee for the permit to correct that, on top of whatever their violation fees might be,” answered County Planner Heather Gutherless.

After some debate over fence height, minimum backyard square footage, and coop setbacks, the commissioners agreed to pass the zoning change.

“This is a nice thing to do for all the people who’ve called in, asking for this,” District 1 Commissioner Faye Griffin said.

For the neighbors

No roosters are allowed

If properly cared for, chickens should not cause significant noise or odor problems

Roaming chickens or serious problems should be reported to the county zoning violation department, not animal control.

Home Owner Associations are still free to restrict or deny any backyard animals.

No on-site chicken slaughter will be allowed by the permit.

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