Tomorrow, the city’s Planning Commission will be voting on new language in the ordinance governing urban agriculture. The meeting begins at 2 p.m. at the Robin Building, 200 Ross St., Downtown.
The ordinance includes a new sub-section that permits agriculture in the city as an accessory use but for which you would need to apply for a special exception.
New wording specifies how many bee hives and chickens you can keep, starting with a minimum of 2,000 square feet (three chickens and two beehives). It requires that the person keeping the bees and/or chickens also live at the same property.
It does not address larger animals such as goats and sheep, and that's puzzling.
Revisions to the zoning code regarding agricultural practices in the city began last year. The intent was to clarify vague policies and set legal parameters to give people who keep bees and chickens both guidelines and protection against challenges.
I have an immediate neighbor — our houses are attached — who keeps bees and chickens. In the interest of full disclosure, I do receive some eggs and I contribute beet and chard greens that I don’t want to eat to the chickens. So OK, maybe I’m a little biased, and pretty excited that Jana will be able to keep her chickens and her bees. We’re certain that the reason for the incredible strawberry yield this year was having bees around, and there are few sounds as delightful as chickens fussing on the other side of the fence.
We were kind of thinking about getting a pygmy goat, though... and there’s nothing that says we can’t.
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