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Chickens and bees all the buzz in Jeffco

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Proposal would allow residents to keep up to six chickens

By Ramsey Scott

Jeffco is getting ready to have “the talk” about the birds and the bees. 

This week the county will begin discussing a proposed zoning change that would allow residents to keep chickens and bees in residential-zoned districts. Currently in unincorporated Jeffco, raising chickens and bees is allowed only in agriculturally zoned areas. 

The new regulations, which were to go before the Planning Commission on Wednesday, would allow chickens and bees to be kept at single-family homes, two-family dwellings and duplex residential lots larger than 4,000 square feet. 

The number of chickens would be limited to six, and roosters would still be banned. While the proposed changes would not limit the number of hives a person could own, after the first hive, an additional 4,000 square feet would be required for a second.

Along with restrictions on where and how the hives and chickens are located, the honey and eggs produced could not be sold. When a property owner applies for a license to raise chickens or bees, neighboring lots and homeowner associations will be notified and have a chance to comment. 

The planning staff is recommending the zoning changes be approved, citing the growing national trend of urban farming. In the report, Denver and other neighboring cities were cited as having made changes to allow urban chicken coops and beekeeping. Many of the letters the county received were in support of allowing the change. 

The few letters the county received in opposition cited concerns about noise from the chickens and the smell from untidy coops. One letter mentioned a nightmare scenario with a neighbor who kept chickens, roosters, turkeys and other farm animals. The smell and noise made their backyard unlivable.

As part of the zoning change, no roosters or other birds such as turkeys or geese would be allowed. Also, slaughtering chickens would not be allowed.

The Planning Commission was set to hear the changes on Wednesday, and the county commissioners will consider them on March 26. 

 

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@everegreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22.