Chickens

Two years after allowing residents to keep chickens inside city limits, the Edmond City Council has asked city staff to draft an amendment to let more homeowners participate in the increasingly popular activity.

A request to amend the Edmond Urban Chicken Ordinance led the Edmond City Council to direct staff to draft an ordinance in favor of allowing residents to keep more chickens. The vote was 3-2 and the ordinance will go before the city council on Aug. 12.

Mayor Dan O’Neil and Councilman Darrell Davis were dissenting votes on drafting an amendment.

The 2017 ordinance allows up to eight hens on lots of at least .68 acres, or 30,000 square feet. Potential chicken owners must apply for a permit; roosters are prohibited, as are slaughtering chickens.

For the new ordinance chicken coop and run shall be located no closer than five feet from any side or rear property line, according to the discussion. The coup and run would be no closer than 40 feet from any dwelling unit other than the owner occupants. A 25-foot setback is part of the former ordinance. Not all lot sizes in Edmond will be able to meet the new setback.

Lots less than 1/3 an acre that meet the 40-foot setback would be allowed to have four chickens or laying hens with the new ordinance. Lots greater than 1/3 of an acre to 2/3 of an acre that meet the 40-foot setback are allowed no more than six chickens or laying hens, she said. Lots exceeding 2/3 an acre or 30,000 square feet will have the the same 40-foot setback requirement.

Gena Money, with Edmond Urban Chickens, said expanding the ordinance would allow more Edmond residents, including children, the opportunity to enjoy backyard chickens. Homeowners associations continue to have the ability to address the issue in their covenants.

“If we didn’t see this was a need in the community we would not have come back,” Money said.

Councilman Nick Massey encouraged the group to increase the setback on all lots to potentially allow for the ordinance approval, she added.

One hundred permits would be allowed during the first two years of the amended ordinance to determine compliance standards are met, Money said.

Edmond Animal Welfare has stated that no negative impact has been experienced in the city since the 2017 ordinance was adopted. Thirty-seven permits have been approved during the last two years.

Edmond Urban Chickens would provide classes to all residents who want to purchase a permit to raise chickens within Edmond city limits.

Assistant City Manager Steve Commons said the city uses two satellites that can provide with certainty the setbacks and other measurements are being enforced. Davis said all property lot sizes can be made available by the state’s database for enforceability. Residents can go to the Oklahoma County Assessor’s website to determine lot sizes.

“It is quite simple to look at your lot and say you have to be five feet back from the fence or the property line,” Massey said. “And you have to be 40 feet from the nearest neighbor’s house. That’s pretty clear, and if it weren’t clear enough you could get a tape measure.”

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