Cedar Rapids approves urban chickens

CEDAR RAPIDS — The City Council agreed last night to allow households to raise up to six urban chicken hens in the backyard.
The council voted 6-2 on the chicken ordinance, with two additional readings and votes on the ordinance slated for the weeks ahead.
The ordinance is not an experiment, and it will not come with a limit to the number of permits. But it comes with the understanding that the council can repeal it at any time. City staff will update the council on the ordinance’s performance on Oct. 1, 2011.
In order to raise chickens, households will need a city-issued permit, which will require, among other steps, that prospective urban chicken farmers notify their adjacent neighbors of their intent to raise chickens.
To secure a permit, residents also will need to complete an approved class in raising chickens in an urban setting. Such a class is offered for free by Cedar Rapids Citizens for the Legalization of Chickens – CR-CLUC – which was the driving force behind the new ordinance.
According to the new city ordinance, those raising chickens must keep them in an enclosure or fenced area of a size at least four feet square per bird. The chickens must be located at least 10 feet from property lines and 25 feet from any adjacent home or church, school or business.
Odors from the chickens and chicken manure shall not be “perceptible” beyond the boundaries of the yard.
A permit will cost $25 a year.
Council members Chuck Wieneke and Kris Gulick voted “no.”

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