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Residents favor backyard chickens

More residents appear to be in favor of letting homeowners keep chickens in their backyards, according to emails sent to city officials after the City Council decided to hold off on a vote during its Oct. 28 meeting.

Council members discussed an ordinance that would allow those living in single-family residential homes to keep chickens in their backyards and planned to vote on the proposal at its next meeting, held Wednesday because of the Veterans Day holiday, after the Boulder City Review’s deadline.

After discussing the ordinance and hearing from several community members, talks were tabled for further discussion when Council Members Cam Walker and Peggy Leavitt expressed concern over gray areas within the ordinance’s context.

Leavitt wanted to make sure the city had an efficient way of policing those in violation of the ordinance, which includes housing no more than 10 chickens and requires that they be kept in the backyard. Roosters are not permitted.

Walker asked about permits for those interested in housing chickens, as well as the definition of the enclosure where chickens must be kept.

Since last month’s meeting, staff conducted extensive research about other cities that allowed residents to house chickens, including those within Clark County. According to its findings, Las Vegas and Henderson do not have a limit on how many chickens one residence can have, and no permits are required.

Another aspect brought forth by the council was the possibility of diminishing property values because of the chickens. To address that concern, the city looked at a study conducted in Oregon that calculated property values of a few cities where residents were allowed to keep chickens.

Of the five cities included in the study, Salem, the lone one to prohibit chickens, had the lowest price of residential homes.

After asking other cities across in Southern Nevada about the use of permits to house chickens, it was determined that the cities could not see adding resources to process permits because of the minimal amount of complaints they received.

However, Boulder City staff recommended a one-time permit fee of $40 for those interested in housing chickens.

Since the ordinance was brought to the council, several residents wrote to City Hall to voice their opinion. Of those emails, 42 were in favor of housing chickens and 11 were against.

“I support the idea and hope it passes,” resident Jenny Ballif emailed. “While I don’t plan to get backyard chickens, I would love it if my neighbors and friends did. Activities like this that help connect people to the land are important to a community.”

“Chickens are much quieter than the neighborhood barking dogs,” resident Marti Barth wrote.

But not all residents were excited about the possibility of having chickens in Boulder City.

“I feel that the backyards of Boulder City are not the place to raise farm animals,” resident Kelly Jackson wrote. “I feel our city has ample resources for those folks who want to raise animals at the corrals.”

The decision from Wednesday’s meeting will be in the Nov. 20 edition of the Boulder City Review.

Contact reporter Steven Slivka at sslivka@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow @StevenSlivka on Twitter.

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