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Des Moines Washington Law

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Anyone can help me find law about chicken in Des Moines Washington?  I don't want to get in trouble for having chicken, I know some areas no roosters allowed.  Anyone know? Thanks.

post #2 of 10

Des Moines needs to update their code to get with the times.  SeaTac allows 5 hens; Burien 3; Kent 3 or more, depending on lot size.  In Des Moines, the code is very bad for people who want to Homestead and take better care of their families with fresh food.  They only allow rich people with very big property to have any chickens.  Its over 22 thousand square foot lots. Here are the Des Moines chicken regulations.  They call them "foul" and domestic animals, so it is hard for people to find in their zoning code probably on purpose.  It is not customer friendly.  We should contact city council and ask them to copy SeaTac Kent or Seattle and enter the current century.  Good luck.


18.33.070 Small domestic animal requirements.

Minimum requirements for the keeping of small domestic animals are as follows:

(1) Required procedure: City manager review;

(2) Application information:

(a) A site plan indicating the location of the dwelling units, and structure used to house the animals, and any roaming or grazing area;

(b) A vicinity map indicating the type of use on property abutting the subject property and the location of any structures on abutting property;

(c) The type and number of animals to be kept by the applicant;

(3) Maximum number of adult animals per one dwelling unit: 10 per 22,000 square feet, plus an additional five adult animals for each 11,000 square feet of lot size;

(4) Minimum lot size: 22,000 square feet per dwelling unit;

(5) Minimum setback: Any structure or enclosure used to house animals must be at least 35 feet from a property line and at least 45 feet from any dwelling unit located on an adjacent lot. Any “run” or animal exercise area must be at least 20 feet from any property line, and at least 30 feet from any dwelling unit located on an adjacent lot, and shall be constructed to effect these setbacks;

(6) Special regulations and requirements:

(a) The city may limit the number of animals allowed to less than the maximum considering:

(i) Proximity to dwelling units both on and off the subject property;

(ii) Lot size and isolation;

(iii) Compatibility with surrounding uses;

(iv) Potential noise impacts;

(b) The applicant must provide a suitable structure to house the animals, and must maintain that structure in a clean condition;

(c) If an abutting property owner files a signed and notarized statement in support of the request, the city may permit a “run” or exercise area to extend to the property line in common with the abutting property. Such release shall be effective until revoked in writing by the abutting property owner and the city;

(7) Screening: The city may require screening to mitigate financial, health, and aesthetic impacts on adjacent residential property when such residential property is used for residential purposes. The screening shall consist of a solid wall, a view-obscuring fence or hedge not less than five feet nor more than six feet in height, which will be erected and maintained on any exterior boundary that is common with property used for residential purposes, or shall consist of predominantly view-obscuring evergreen shrubs and trees of a type, number, location, height, and size approved by the city. [Ord. 1237 § 4, 1999; Ord. 532 § 5(B), 1981.]

post #3 of 10

I have looked up the laws here, and it is something that needs to be updated.  I would recommend contacting our counsel members and ask them to update, as this needs to be changed.  Times are changing.

post #4 of 10

Iam afraid to contact the city to protect my chickens.  we coulcnt wait and purchased some nice chicks and have been eating fresh eggs all summer.  naybors love them to. I was told that the people at city hall do not like to work very hard and will never be helpful to me if my family ask for help on chickens.  Maybe you or someone else could send this backyard chicken discussion to the local news people blog, or the new mayer who was on tv saying he wanted to make the city better.   

post #5 of 10
I am moving to Des Moines from Seattle. I find it odd that Seattle is more welcoming. I have friends in Des Moines and they all have ducks and/or chickens. So do many of their neighbors. Enforcement seems to be non-existent. I do however, see reason to present the issue to the city in hopes of bringing their laws in line with all of the surrounding communities.
post #6 of 10

Discussion on this topic coming up in Des Moines again. Anyone from other locales who has had success in convincing their city to evaluate their domestic fowl ordinances, please comment.

post #7 of 10

I will be presenting to the Des Moines City council this Wednesday. I think there is a decent chance to get approval. We have a local action page here

post #8 of 10

Presenting to city council tonight. Proposed change looks more like this...


18.150.XXX Domestic Fowl.

Up to three (3) domesticated fowl may be kept on any lot that is at least five thousand (5,000) square feet. These domesticated fowl are in addition to the small domesticated animals that may be permitted on a lot in accordance with 18.150.080 of this section. One (1) additional domesticated fowl is permitted for each one thousand (1,000) square feet of land in excess of the minimum five thousand (5,000) square foot threshold. In no case shall a coop or other accessory structure that restrains or houses domesticated fowl be located closer than ten (10) feet from any other residential lot. Domestic fowl in this section refers to those animals which provide household egg production, and/or kept as pets. Only female chickens/hens are permitted in this section. Ducks of both genders are acceptable. Roosters, or animals kept for meat, trade, breeding, or commercial purposes are not permitted in this section, and are subject to section 18.150.080. 

post #9 of 10

I gave up trying to fix this thing but I'm really happy to see you trying.  Sure seems to be a big waste of time and expensive public employee time to run a permit desk for chickens.  If my chicken breaks a law then come after me, but don't make us stand in line and play mother may I with the town manager, who got fired anyway.  They should have more important things to do.

post #10 of 10

No permits will be required as proposed. In fact, it's something that they really don't want to worry about. Going about it in a way that points to a reasonable compromise between us and them, makes their job easier. Time and energy can be spent dealing only with people who really do go out of their way to P.O. their neighbors, and not care for their birds. It's an open secret that hundreds of birds live in DM. Rather than following the usual tact of many Des Moines council meeting attendees, we're asking for a way to come together to solve the issue once and for all. Be it a waste of time, we'll see. But, I think a fair, and reasonable solution is possible. Especially since we're willing to carry most of the work. A "feel good" initiative may be just attractive enough considering topics like woodmont, budgets, furloughs, etc, are the usual order of business.

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