Well....I went ahead and shot off a letter to the mayor and council. We'll see what comes of it! Below is what I sent, I used someone here's passed proposal to frame up much of it...I wish I could remember who it was, but I'm sure they'll recognize their handy work and pipe up! (Please!)
Dear Mayor and Members of the Council
I respectfully request that the Council consider and find that a small number of hens, kept properly confined in their owner’s yard, be a variance in the current law governing livestock. The current zoning law states: No farm animals, including and not limited to horses, cattle, sheep, swine, or fowl shall be kept within the city limits of the City of Waukee, except in A-1 District or A-2 Annexation District on tracts of one (1) or more acres. My hope is that you'll change this ordinance to something within the scope the example listed at the bottom of this email.
Across the country, urban and suburban areas are allowing small backyard flocks of hens. Major cities allowing hens include New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Baltimore. Des Moines, and West Des Moines are two very close communities that allow the keeping of hens.
Owners of hens prize them as any other pet. Some for their personality, others for their heritage and others for their colors and patterns. Hens, unlike roosters, are friendly, entertaining, and quiet.
Hens are also part of some citizens’ wish to live a “greener” lifestyle. They readily eat table scraps (keeping them from ending up in landfills), are a natural insect control of lawns, and also provide eggs for the family they live with.
Adult hens thrive in a pen that provides a 3-4 square foot dwelling with 10 square feet of run. The small unassuming pen is about the size of a large doghouse.
I would like to allow my daughter, and other children of Waukee, the experience of raising hens to demonstrate green living, showing them where their food originated, and the responsibility of caring for this extraordinary animal.
I respectfully request a clarification for poultry livestock, to allow for small flock hens be kept in the yards of the citizens of Waukee.
Below is a model ordinance designed for the Council to consider in either adopting or to use as a starting point when deciding whether to allow hens in the city and how to regulate them:
Purpose. The following regulations will govern the keeping of chickens and are designed to prevent nuisances and prevent conditions that are unsanitary or unsafe. No person shall keep chickens unless the following
regulations are followed:
a. Number. No more than six (6) hens shall be allowed for each single-family dwelling.
b. Setbacks. Coops or cages housing chickens shall be kept at least twenty-five (25) feet from the door or window of any dwelling or occupied structure other than the owner’s dwelling. Coops and cages shall not be located within five (5) feet of a sideyard lot line, nor within eighteen (18) inches of a rear-yard lot line. Coops and cages shall not be located in the front yard.
c. Enclosure. Hens shall be provided with a covered, predator-proof coop or cage that is well ventilated and designed to be easily accessed for cleaning. The coop shall allow at least two square feet per hen. Hens shall have access to an outdoor enclosure that is adequately fenced to contain the birds on the property and to prevent predators from access to the birds. Hens shall not be allowed out of these enclosures unless a responsible individual, over 18 years of age, is directly monitoring the hens and able to immediately return the hens to the cage or coop if necessary.
d. Sanitation. The coop and outdoor enclosure must be kept in a sanitary condition and free from offensive odors. The coop and outdoor enclosure must be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent the accumulation of waste.
e. Slaughtering. There shall be no outdoor slaughtering of chickens.
f. Roosters. It is unlawful for any person to keep roosters.