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Chickens allowed on smaller lots

Oct 05, 2017 03:08PM ● Published by Jana Klopsch

Riverton residents can now keep chickens in smaller yards. (Stewie Smith)

As of Aug. 15, Riverton City officials now allow chickens on all single-family residential lots of at least 10,000 square feet; previously, they were allowed only on rural-residential lots of a half-acre or more. Each residential lot is allowed up to six chickens. Roosters, ducks, geese, pigeons and other fowl will continue to be restricted to rural-residential lots. 

 Rural-residential lots will keep the same animal permissions they had before the ordinance change and are unaffected by the six-chicken rule imposed on smaller, purely residential lots. These areas will still be allowed up to 20 chickens per half-acre of land, just as before. 

This is the second time city leaders have considered changing the chicken policy. Previously, city officials considered an amendment that would have allowed each household a maximum of six chickens, regardless of lot size. This was shot down, largely due to concerns that some lots would simply be too small to accommodate six chickens.

Apparently, the addition of a lot size minimum made the amendment more palatable, because this time it passed unanimously, with little discussion or argument. In fact, the city council decided to loosen up the initially proposed specifications. Originally, this amendment would only have allowed chickens to be kept on lots zoned as R-1, R-2, or R-3, but Councilman Sheldon Stewart amended it to also include lots of 10,000 square feet or more.

Hopeful chicken-keepers do not need to apply for any licenses or special permissions from the city, so long as your lot meets the zoning requirements, you may have chickens on your property. The city planning commission looked at the possibility of including additional regulations regarding such things as coop size and permissible distance between the coop and adjacent buildings, but these were ultimately abandoned in the interest of keeping things easy to enforce.

“I think, given some of the previous discussions, those are certainly things that we can address if this proves to be a problem or those standards are needed,” said Development Services Director Jason Lethbridge.

 Councilman Trent Staggs said it’s a simple change for residents. 

“The idea here is that this is added to the household pet ordinance,” he said. “We looked at that specifically so that it wouldn’t add to the workload of code enforcement. We’re not regulating even the size of pens or anything. It’s just a pretty easy change to the ordinance.”  

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