Pecking Permitted: Chickens to be Owned in Fargo

Fargo residents are able to obtain a permit that would allow them to own up to four chickens on any premises with an enclosed chicken coop and chicken run, enclosed outside yard for chickens.

The permit application “must be a scaled diagram that indicates the location of any chicken coop and chicken and the approximate size and distance from adjoining structures and property lines,” the amendment draft published Feb. 2 said.

The amendments clear up conflicts between city codes regarding regulation of chicken coops, chickens and bans roosters due to noise.

West Fargo Pioneer reported “current laws are contradictory, with one part of the law allowing backyard coops and another part relegating them to agricultural zoning.”

On Monday, Fargo city commissioners unanimously agreed a permit is required for chicken owners and the number of chickens would be capped and coops will have to follow certain standards.

There is a recommended fee of $15 to $20, which will be brought to the next city commission, WFP reported.

Cass-Clay Food Commission was formed in 2015 to study urban agriculture issues, such as the contradictory conflicts regarding chickens and chicken coops.

The Cass-Clay Food Commission met in January 2016 and discussed “Urban Chicken Education” and “Urban Chicken Blueprint” along with a public discussion and a commission discussion.

The January 2016 meeting was to give a baseline understanding of the issue and how other cities across the United States are doing and at the time no action was being taken regarding urban chickens.

“Every person who owns, controls, keeps, maintains, or harbors chickens must keep them confined at all times in a chicken coop and chicken run and may not allow the chickens to run at large,” the draft ordinance from Feb. 2 said.

Chicken coops and runs are not allowed in the front yard or in any part of a home or garage and need to be setback three feet from adjacent premises.

“Slaughter and breeding of chickens on any premises within the city is prohibited,” the ordinance draft said.

The ordinance draft sets standards on chicken coops and their allowable size per chicken.

The required permit will allow city officials to regulate and monitor the amount of chickens located in Fargo and allows the city to talk to the owners if there are complaints about odor or noise.

Some Fargo residents currently own chickens, but the amount of chickens has previously not been regulated along with the living conditions of the chickens.

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