Others have done this...

So, my research started on-line. Danged, there were other folks who had faced this same issue before. And successfully. There were reports of urban chicken wranglers from coast to coast. From New York City (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/19/dining/19yard.html?ref=style) to Seattle, WA (http://www.seattletilth.org/resources/City%20Chickens/view?searchterm=chickens). Most inspiring to me were the efforts in Missoula, MT and Madision, WI. The Cheddar Heads did it with flair and humor (http://www.madcitychickens.com/).

I researched the local ordinances and discovered that all that really stood between my and feathered friends was the definition of Farm Animals in the Planning and Zoning Code for Fort Collins. Aha! I figured that if I could get the definition of farm animals changed to exempt a few hens, heck, that would be all that was needed. Decriminalize chickens, not legalize them as the had in other places. That suited me just fine. But where to start. This is where the e-mail to my city council rep comes in. She pointed me to a contact within Planning and Zoning. I called Peter Barnes and asked him what it would take to amend the Zoning Code. He was very helpful. Through some trial and error in discovering the correct process, I finally worked with Ted Shepard to file the correct forms and submit my proposal. It went like this:

Supporting Documentation for the Proposed Text Amendment for Definition of Farm Animals

Given the current climate of awareness of the issues surrounding local food production, food security, and sustainability, I would like to offer the following proposal to amend Section 5.1.2 of the Fort Collins City Land Use Code definition of farm animals to include the following:

Hens numbering six (6) or fewer shall be considered pets and not be considered farm animals for the purpose of the city land use code.


Whereas responsibly raised hens in an urban setting are less disruptive to the public than outdoor dogs and cats (1) (2) (3), and

whereas locally raised eggs for personal consumption are a part of the sustainable lifestyle promoted by the Fort Collins/Belleview based Rocky Mountain Sustainable Living Association, the Northern Colorado Local Living Economy Project, and

whereas there have been positive and public steps taken toward the responsible raising of urban hens in such cities as Seattle, WA (4); Portland, OR (5); Cedar Falls, IA (6); Missoula, MT (7); and Madison, WI (8), and

whereas allowing the raising of urban hens would fit well within the Fort Collins City Plan values of Sustainability, Choices, Fairness, and Fulfillment, and

whereas in 2000 the Sondburg House Chicken Coop was granted Historic Landmark designation by the city of Fort Collins (9) for its representation of the property's early history, thus showing a long-standing tradition of urban chicken raising in Fort Collins, and

whereas the only impediment to allowing the urban raising of hens in the city of Fort Collins is in the wording of the Land Use Code definitions,

Be it proposed that the Fort Collins Land Use Code definitions be amended to include the following:

Hens numbering six (6) or fewer shall be considered pets and not be considered farm animals for the purpose of the city land use code.

(1) U.S. Humane Society reports that 4.7 million Americans, mostly children, are bitten by dogs. http://www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/dog_care/stay_dog_bite_free/questions_and_answers_about_dog_bites/

(2) The American Bird Conservancy reports that domestic cats can have a significant negative affect on native wildlife populations, including songbirds.


(3) An Internet search for injuries caused by chickens resulted in no statistics. It appears that chickens do not cause a significant number of injuries to make the news.

(4) Seattle, WA

(5) Portland, OR


(6)Cedar Falls, IA

(7) Missoula, MT

(8) Madison, WI


(9) Sondburg House chicken coop


No comments: