City Council to vote on urban chicken ordinance


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Iowa City city councilors will once again consider an ordinance to allow the keeping of backyard chickens.

The City Council will vote on the first consideration of an ordinance that would allow Iowa City residents to keep backyard chickens. The ordinance would allow the keeping of chickens as an accessory use to single family detached uses.

An ordinance requires three readings to pass. The councilors will vote on the first consideration at their next meeting, Nov. 13.

The council will also consider an amendment to the animal-control ordinance. Passage of the amendment would establish a permitting process and performance standards. The permit policy, a copy of which was included in the council’s agenda packet, outlines the requirements for chicken coops and pens.

One requirement is that the applicant would need to provide written verification that he or she notified all abutting property owners that he or she is submitting a chicken application.

The feet for an initial permit would be $100; it will cost $75 to renew the permit.

The passage of the policy, however, wouldn’t take place until the third consideration of the chicken keeping ordinance — tentatively set for the council’s Dec. 4 meeting.

City staff now recommends that the City Council amend city code to allow keeping of chickens and approve the Urban Chicken Policy.

City officials have discussed the possibility of a chicken ordinance in the past, but city staff previously recommended that councilors not amend the zoning code to allow chickens. City code currently prohibits people from raising farm animals in any residential area.

I-CLUCK, a local urban-chicken-advocacy group, presented a petition to the City Council in July with roughly 1,000 signatures of people in favor of legalizing keeping chickens.

Cedar Rapids and Ames allow backyard chickens.

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