Hearing set for Roy residents to sound off on chicken zoning

Jul 23 2012 - 11:00pm

ROY -- Residents will have a chance to plead their case regarding chickens to the planning commission at a 6 p.m. meeting Wednesday.

The public hearing, to be in city council chambers at 5051 S. 1900 West, comes after residents trickled in during the last few city council meetings, asking to have chickens allowed in some zones. The city currently allows chickens in agricultural zones, mostly on the west side.

Melissa Warwood brought the issue up at a recent city council meeting. City Councilman Dave Tafoya said the issue is difficult because it's more of a farming thing, and in the past the council has simply stuck to keeping chickens in agricultural zones. He said neighbors might complain about roosters and other concerns.

Warwood said she was only interested in female chickens for the eggs.

"Is there any way I can persuade you to change your minds?" she asked the council.

Resident Forrest Young said he would like to see the option to have chickens. He thought they were outlawed in all parts of the city, but is happy to know they're allowed in some places, which may make it easier to get an ordinance passed for the whole city.

Mayor Joe Ritchie said if the city council is happy with the existing ordinance, it won't necessarily be changed.

City Planner Jared Hall said residents can work through the planning commission for an ordinance amendment that would allow chickens in smaller zones, which would be subject to council approval. The council rejected a similar amendment a year and a half ago.

Councilman Michael Stokes said the vote was split at that time. "I'm willing to pursue this," he said.

Stokes would like to come up with a reasonable compromise between residents and the city. He suggested looking at ordinances in other cities.

"I would be willing to say yes if we can point out the value," Stokes said.

In other meetings, residents said they misunderstood the ordinance and thought they could have chickens but have received citations for keeping them.

Ritchie said if that was the case, they can keep their chickens until a decision is made by the planning commission and council.

Tafoya said if the commission and council decide against the chickens, residents can take the issue to court if they feel a need to.

Residents have been working with Hall on the process for an amendment. The commission will weigh the option after the public hearing and will then make a recommendation to the city council.

Ritchie said the council isn't trying to shut down residents who have petitioned the council, but is being supportive by referring them to the planning commission.

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