Urban Chickens!

Quick update!

The urban agriculture ordinance passed Planning Commission last month and is headed to City Council soon. The tentative schedule is laid out below:

  • Introduction: December 3 (assumed date)
  • Second hearing: December 17 – a hearing intended specifically to allow for public discussion.
  • Final hearing: December 31 – generally the up or down vote on an ordinance.
The Neighborhood Alliance, a group with which I’ve been involved, and on whose Board/staff I have many friends, published the following text via email:
Public Hearing on Urban Agriculture in Oklahoma City

This ordinance addresses: Community Gardens, Composting, Home Gardens, Urban Farming, Roof Gardens, Greenhouses, Hoop Houses and Rainwater Harvesting.
The ordinance also allows backyard chickens with the following restrictions:
Parcels that are less than one acre may house up to six chickens, no roosters, a coop is required, chickens must have access to the outdoors, may be located in a fenced back or side yard only and no outdoor slaughtering is allowed.

Personally, I do not like that they pulled chickens out specifically. If there was one area where I thought people might raise too much of a stink and sink part, or all, of the ordinance, it was the chicken issue. Properly cared for chickens are not loud and will be beneficial to those urban residents that choose to have them. Roosters, yes, they are loud, and they are NOT permitted in the ordinance.

A sticking point, and one on which I agree, is that code enforcement at the City is already stretched, and generally works on a complaint-only basis. This means that, unless a code enforcement officer is in a Weed and Seed area with extra funding, they only respond to submitted complaints, and ONLY from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Many people will complain that roosters and bad conditions may not be noticeable during those times.

A workable solution, in my opinion, is to keep the ordinance as written, and look for additional funding to support code enforcement overtime to work on neighborhood-scale issues in the evenings, or some other arrangement by which we can expand code enforcement’s effectiveness.

3 Replies to “Urban Chickens!”

  1. I keep thinking of the poorer neighborhoods in the city who can’t get enforcement from zoning regarding cars parked in front yards. Now, we are adding chickens – to a side yard no less. Those poor people. I understand your reasoning for believing that this is a positive step and I believe that may apply in your neighborhood but not in every neighborhood.

    1. Judy, I think that’s a red herring defense. I believe the chickens must be in a back yard, or if it’s a side yard, it must meet the distance requirements. All neighborhoods have had trouble with yard parking, and even with recently updated ordinances, it’s tough to catch because it often happens “after hours”. Personally, this doesn’t yet affect me, because the State of Oklahoma controls my zoning in Lincoln Terrace… that’s a wholly different subject.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s