Clinton allows chickens in certain zones

Published: Wednesday, April 28 2010 5:59 p.m. MDT

CLINTON — The Clinton City Council voted Tuesday night to allow residents in certain zones to keep chickens for food production.

The 3-2 vote means residents in the R-1-10 and R-1-15 zones — those lots with a minimum of 10,000 and 15,000 square feet, respectively — could begin registering chickens in June. Residents in the agricultural zones already could keep chickens.

Clinton resident Debbie Barlow, who had petitioned the city to create an ordinance allowing chickens, called it a bittersweet victory.

"I would have wanted more freedom and more zones allowed, but it's a start," she said Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, Barlow thanked the group of residents who called and sent e-mail to the City Council to urge passage of the ordinance.

In the end, the council decided that lots smaller than 10,000 square feet weren't large enough to accommodate chickens, said city planner Steve Parkinson.

The City Council made other changes to the ordinance that had been recommended for approval by the Planning Commission, Parkinson said.

Homeowners may keep up to six chickens and must have a chicken coop and a chicken run area to keep chickens in the backyard.

Coops have to be 10 feet from property lines and at least 35 feet from neighboring homes.

Residents who want to keep chickens in the residential zones must register their chickens with the city starting June 1, Parkinson said. That will give city staff time to gather educational information to distribute to residents.

There is no fee for the registration, which must happen annually by April 30, he said.

Tuesday's chicken discussion went from 7:30 p.m. until about 10:20 p.m., with a break during that time, Parkinson said.

That's similar to the council's April 13 public hearing and discussion, which ran for about three hours and ended when the council voted to table the ordinance until Tuesday.

Council members Anna Stanton and David Pearson voted against the ordinance.

To determine if their homes are permitted to keep chickens, Clinton residents may download a zoning map from the Clinton city website at bit.ly/9RgB9R.

e-mail: jdougherty@desnews.com twitter: desnewsdavis

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