Friday, February 27, 2009

The new Longmont backyard hen ordinance and getting a permit

As of Feb. 24, the City of Longmont has passed an ordinance (read details of the ordinance here) that allows a small number of city residents to keep up to 4 hens (no roosters) in a backyard chicken coop provided that the coop/yard meets certain requirements. There will be 50 permits available for issue for a cost of $30. Residents must fill out a simple form and supply some information when applying for their permit.

Obtaining a permit:
Permits will be available to the Longmont community beginning Monday, March 9, 2009, and every work day thereafter until the permits run out. Individuals that want a permit must come to the Development Services Center located at 385 Kimbark St., which is located across the street from the library. The doors to the offices front onto Kimbark and are open at 8 a.m.

Prospective chicken owners will need to fill out a simple form which includes the requirements within the ordinance. The permits are $30 (cash or check made payable to the City of Longmont). They don't accept credit cards, so please be sure to have your cash/checks in hand when you come in. The form will ask if you are using a coop that was in existence prior to February 1, 2009 and whether said coop is closer than six feet to any side or rear property line. If it is closer than six feet, the coop owner will need to get written permission from the adjacent property owner. If you fit that description, please make sure you have their letters in hand too. If the pre-existing coop is not closer than six feet, then you won't need a letter. If a pre-existing coop is closer than six feet and there is no adjacent property owner, then you don't need written permission.

For any and all coops (whether they're pre-existing or not), please provide a plot plan, sketch plan, aerial photo, e.g. Google map of the property showing dimension lines from the side/rear property lines and any structure as well as the placement of the coop. If you are going to be using a tractor, just show the larger area where the tractor will be contained in. The sketch plans/Google map don't have to be too fancy. They just want a general idea as to where you're planning on putting the coop and the coop's size.

Additional information:
While the following recommendation isn't included in the ordinance, it has been suggested (by city staff) that we work within our group to self-police as much as possible to avoid raising any red flags during the trial period.

According to city staff, Murdoch's sells sexed chicks, so please take advantage of this or other distributors that sell sexed chicks and do your best to avoid roosters as much as possible.

Also, if anyone in our group has buyer's remorse afterward or accidentally gets a rooster, we've been encouraged to work amongst ourselves to adopt out the birds or, in the worst case scenario, take them to one of the two raptor rehabilitation centers in the area (Fort Collins & Broomfield). It is important to get rid of roosters immediately once they start crowing if it turns out you get one accidentally.

Thank you for your support and congratulations to all. Keep on clucking. :)

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