The Milton City Council approved July 21 two ordinances, one for the keeping of urban chickens and another for the keeping of urban bees, within the city limits.
In a separate action, council set a one-time chicken- and bee-keeping fee of $55.
City Administrator Al Hulick said the fee is the same as the minimum building permit fee in the city and was chosen so that when building fees are amended, as they periodically are, separate resolutions would not be required for multiple fees. Money from the fee will be used to cover the cost of the city clerk’s time to process applications and the building inspector’s time to review site plans for coop and hive locations and a final inspection of the coop or hive to verify that the structure is placed appropriately on a property as indicated by the submitted site plan.
If a resident would choose to discontinue keeping chickens or bees, and then at a future date decide to keep them again, they would need to pay the fee again, Hulick said.
“Discontinuation of use would cause the permit to be void,” he said.
Before the urban chicken ordinance was approved, a resident asked for clarification about wording within the ordinance requiring keepers to make feed and water unavailable to rodents. He suggested adding language, specifying rodent-proof storage requirements, noting that any feed or water that was available to chickens would also be available to rodents.
City Attorney Mark Schroeder said he believed language within the ordinance was sufficient to convey understanding that feed must be stored in an appropriate way so as not to attract rodents.
Councilmember Lynda Clark said she was concerned about the proximity of chickens kept by neighbors living near multifamily housing.
Hulick said coops must be kept at least 25 feet from habitable structures on neighboring properties and once a chicken-keeping application from a resident is received, the city clerk will notify all abutting property owners, allowing neighbors to comment or request a public hearing.
Councilmember Theresa Rusch asked who would be responsible for making sure those keeping chickens adhered to state-specific livestock registration requirements.
Councilmember Larry Laehn said keepers would be required, as is the case in other communities, to provide the required information directly to the state.
Director of Public Works Howard Robinson said the city’s application form included language requiring keepers to comply with state and county requirements.
Within the bee ordinance, requirements include the placement of a minimum 6-foot fence, closed hedge, building or other flyway barrier between hives and all property lines within 20 feet of hives.
The permit holder must provide verification of beekeeping training, the ordinance stipulates.