Make way for chickens with Farmington ordinance

Urban residents can have up to three chickens with permit

After two years of debate, Farmington residents in urban areas can now raise chickens in their own backyards under an ordinance passed at the City Council meeting March 18.

The initial draft of the ordinance allowed for a maximum of six chickens, but Council Member Christy Jo Fogarty and Mayor Todd Larson thought it was better to start out with three chickens, citing community concern.

Fogarty said she had almost a dozen negative calls about the ordinance. “I am trying to balance what I heard,” she said.
“I don’t care for it,” Larson said, “but I do understand the need the community is bringing forward. I am willing to try it for a year.”

Not all supporters were squawking with excitement about the change.
“I am disappointed, but at least it’s something” said Annabelle Randow, 15. Annabelle and her brother, Stefan Randow, 12, were two of a handful of Farmington youths who supported the ordinance.

“The original ordinance we drafted for the Planning Commission said five chickens,” Stefan said. “They said we can do six and were confident it was going to pass.”

Lerew Kass, 14, another supporter, said he was surprised to hear about complaints. Besides one negative email sent to the city, he said he never heard from any dissenters. At the March 12 public hearing, only supporters showed up, said Tony Wippler, assistant city planner.
The ordinance passed unanimously with the three-chickens limit, but council members Doug Bonar and Jason Bartholomay thought six chickens was an OK number.

Bartholomay said he did not think three chickens was enough for people who wanted to get eggs. Bonar, who worked on the Planning Commission in past years reviewing the ordinance, said, “I’m confident that this has been thoroughly vetted in the last two years.”

He agreed to three chickens “in the interest of world peace.”
The council will review the ordinance after a year and keep track of complaints. Council members said they would consider more chickens in the future.

People who apply for the Urban Chicken Permit will have to go through a public hearing process before the permit is approved. The city provides specific regulations about where the chickens will be kept and enclosure specifications. After a year, the permit will be administratively renewed after a city inspection.