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Thursday, February 07, 2013

Chicken Dreams... Coming True?

[caption id="attachment_4300" align="alignleft" width="225"]These are old pics, but can't you see how much my girls love chickens? These are old pics, but can't you see how much my girls love chickens?[/caption]

Many of you know my desire to have chickens. And if you don't, well, I want chickens. And bees. In my backyard. I've become more and more interested in Urban Homesteading- partially for environmental reasons, partially for nutrition reasons, and partially for faith reasons. However, in our area, we're not allowed to have chickens in our backyard. Many of my friends do it anyway, but I'm not okay with setting that example for our kids. So I've been pounding on doors (and mostly being ignored) trying to find out how to change the law.

Fortunately, other people must have been doing the same thing, because the county is FINALLY considering measures to allow backyard chickens. I received an email from one of the county planners with information on the proposed regulations.

For those of you who live in my area, would you consider sending a letter of support to the county, letting them know that it's about time we got to have chickens!!

Here is the text of the email I received:

[caption id="attachment_4301" align="alignright" width="225"] She wants a chicken![/caption]

Hello! Jefferson County Planning & Zoning is processing several revisions to the Zoning Resolution. In general, the revisions allow backyard chickens and bees and consolidate the agricultural, commercial, corridor, industrial, mobile home, mountain residential, residential, and suburban residential districts. A draft of these changes is available for public review on our website. The direct link to the changes is http://jeffco.us/planning/planning_T59_R65.htm, it can also be navigated to by going to the main Planning & Zoning page (http://planning.jeffco.us) and then following the link under the “Zoning Resolution Revisions” announcement.  Please email comments to Heather Gutherless or Nina Ruiz by February 20, 2013. More information regarding these changes is outlined after the Hearing Dates.


Hearing Dates:   

Planning Commission: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 6:15pm

Board of County Commissioners: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 8:00 am.

Both hearings are held in Hearing Room 1 of the Jefferson County Administration and Courts Building, 100 Jefferson County Parkway, Golden. Public testimony is welcomed.


Bees and Chickens:

The proposed regulations regarding keeping chickens and bees on residential properties are located in Section 5 – Accessory Uses. These revisions are a result of many inquiries and requests to keep chickens and/or bees on residentially zone properties.  Currently, chickens and bees are allowed in the County’s Agricultural Districts and chickens are allowed in the Suburban Residential Districts, Mountain Residential Districts and the Residential-One District.


The main changes to this section include:

  • Ø Allows for the keeping of bees and chickens on single family detached, two-family dwelling or duplex residential lots through a miscellaneous permit.

  • Ø Maximum number of chickens allowed is 6. No roosters allowed.

  • Ø Allows one bee hive for each 4,000 square feet of lot area.

  • Ø Permits for either bees or chickens may be revoked at any time for failure to comply with the provisions of the Zoning Resolution or any other local, state or federal laws.


The Planning Director discussed the benefits of keeping backyard chickens in a blog post on November 20, 2012. You can view that post by going to: http://jeffco.us/roller/jeffcoblog/date/20121120


District Consolidation

The Zone Districts are currently broken into one section for each specific zone district. For example, the Agricultural-One District is its’ own section, Agricultural-Two District is its’ own section, and Agricultural-Thirty-five District is its’ own section. Planning Staff has consolidated all related zone districts into one section and has reformatted the information on uses, setbacks, heights and lot sizes into chart format, rather than in paragraph format. So in the consolidation, all Agricultural Zone Districts are shown in the Agricultural District section, rather than being split into 3 different sections. This consolidation was completed for the agricultural, commercial, corridor, industrial, mobile home, mountain residential, residential, and suburban residential districts. For the most part, the consolidation did not change the uses and standards in the districts, however, there were some instances where language needed to be changed.  Additionally, other changes that staff felt were minor, housekeeping-type changes are also included in these revisions.


All changes are outlined in the “Summary of Proposed Changes” sheet that is on the same website as the draft text.


Please contact us if you have any questions.


Heather Gutherless and Nina Ruiz


Heather Gutherless




Nina Ruiz





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