SOS *action needed* on behalf of Mesa AZ members! Defend our chickens!

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by cardsyourway, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. cardsyourway

    cardsyourway New Egg

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    In a letter from the "Development & Sustainability Department"
    Dated August 25, 2009

    Re: Livestock Regulations

    To Mesa Residence.

    The letter announces an upcoming City Council vote this fall. (How to submit comments on the proposed changes will be given at the end of this post.)

    If the proposed changes are approved:

    * the allowable size lot for keeping livestock is reduced from 43,000 square feet (a full acre) to 35,000 sq. ft. (a net acre)

    * NEW * new requirement would specify that barnyard fowl, such as ducks, chickens and roosters, may not be kept on a lot unless the parcel was a minimum of 35,000 square feet (currently there is no minimum lot size for keeping fowl)

    * there is also more specific regulations for livestock on large (multiple acre) lots

    * animals being raised as partof a 4-H or Future farmers project would be allowed on any lot

    ***Please submit comments to these proposed changes, no later than Thursday, September 17, 2009, one of these ways (we can't let them take our chickens away!

    1.) Submit email comments to Debbie Archulet at: [email protected]

    2.) Mail in comments to:

    Planning Division
    Attn: Debbie Archuleta
    P.O. Box 1466
    Mesa, AZ 85211-1466

    To discuss the livestock regulations please phone Gordon Sheffild, Zoning Administrator at 480-644-2199. Please note that normal business hours are 7am-6pm Monday through Thursday.

    Comments should be submitted no later than Thursday, September 17, 2009! Then they will compile the comments and present them to the City Council later in the fall.

    ***Most people I know do not have a full acre of land! I'm on a 9,500 sq. ft. lot which is plenty of room for a few chickens!!! I hope we can prevent them from taking away our legal right to have backyard chickens, PLEASE SUPPORT OUR CHICKENS AND SUBMIT A COMMENT TELLING THEM NOT TO REQUIRE AN ACRE OF LAND TO HAVE CHICKENS!!!***

    Thank you! [​IMG]
     
  2. cardsyourway

    cardsyourway New Egg

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    Aug 30, 2009
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    Please pass to everyone you know in Mesa who has chickens, or would like to support those of us who do!

    Thank you.. thank you.. thank you!!!
     
  3. Eggs4Sale

    Eggs4Sale Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2009
    That word "Sustainability" has been creating a lot of havoc this year.

    If all else fails, you could all be the largest 4-H group ever! My niece was in 4-H and never qualified to show her goat, but she was still a member. Just not a good one. Got any kids, nieces, nephews, grandkids??????
     
  4. AZKat

    AZKat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm going to send in my comment asap, and I'm also going to call and write the Mayor, Vice-Mayor, and my council member. I suggest that other people do the same. The information on how to contact them can be found here:
    http://mesaaz.gov/Government/
     
  5. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Tempe, Arizona
    Maricopa County has very few 4H programs that focus on poultry, unfortunately. FFA fares a bit better.
     
  6. cardsyourway_us

    cardsyourway_us Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:Quote:Yeah! Thank you AZKat, hopefully there are more of us like you! I'll be writing my emails this week! My husband pointed out that the line about chickens seems out of place.. and it's fishy that we only know one person to receive the letter (and they have a much larger property)! I don't thing the gov. people have any clue about chickens.. why should they impose such a large requirement of land just to own a few?!?
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2009
  7. AZKat

    AZKat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just spoke to Gordon Shefflid on the telephone, who is a very nice man, and more or less on our side, about the proposed code. According to him, the proposed changes came to be because of comments made by some of the City Council members, who were shocked to find out that Mesa allowed chickens on small lots. This happened during the discussion of *reducing* the size of lots required for livestock, and the basic idea was to make the code uniform. He said that the changes that are being proposed are very much in the early stages, and that normally proposed changes to the city code would not even be released until it reached the final hearing stage.

    So, the good news is that we have some time to educate the Mesa City Council on the virtues and benefits of urban chicken keeping. Since the comments came from the City Council, and not from zoning and planning, I think its especially important for everyone to contact the city council as well.

    Mr. Shefflid suggested cc'ing him ([email protected]) as well as cc'ing the City Council members on the email that is sent in.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2009
  8. AZKat

    AZKat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is a copy of the letter I just sent out to the people listed in my above message. I focused on the 'chickens are not a nuisance' angle, rather than the chickens are awesome angle.

    Anyway, here it is.
    I am writing to express my very strong opposition to the proposed changes that would only allow chickens and other poultry to be kept on lots that are an acre in size or greater. Quite simply, there is no reason to ban the keeping of chickens on lots that are one half acre or less in size.

    The current City Code already limits the number of chickens that can be kept on less than an acre to ten birds, requires that the birds be kept in sanitary conditions, states that they cannot be a nuisance to the neighbors, and has required set backs from neighboring residences. In practical terms this does limit the size of the lot to one that is about the size of an ordinary suburban lot, a lot that is smaller would not have space for the needed set backs.

    As a side note, I would add that a ordinary back yard is more than adequate in size for the keeping of chickens. The standard amount of space suggested for keeping chickens is 4 square feet of coop space and 10 square feet of run space per bird. This means that if a chicken owner has the current maximum number of chickens, then only 140 square feet is required to keep the birds comfortably. To put this in perspective, this is about the size of an average master bedroom or about the size of two parking spaces. So, the amount of space required by ten chickens is far from excessive, and is easily found in a suburban backyard.

    Another reason for maintianing the current city code regarding chickens is that right now, most major cities in the US, if they did not already allow the keeping of urban chickens, have changed their city code, or are considering changing their city code, to allow the keeping of urban chickens. As cities, and city dwellers, look for ways to make their cities more livable and sustainable, growing a garden and keeping a small flock of chickens is a increasingly common way of doing this. In fact, many of the large hatcheries have said that now the majority of the day-old baby chicks they ship are being sent to urban and suburban rather than rural, addresses. By considering the prohibition of urban chicken keeping, Mesa would be taking a step backwards, and making it more difficult for its citizens who want to live a sustainable lifestyle to do so. We should view the current ordinance, which allows the keeping of chickens on small lots, not as a vestige of Mesa's rural past, but as a part of Mesa's sustainable, urban future.

    The most common objection to chickens is that they are dirty, smelly, noisy and generate large amounts of foul smelling droppings. In reality, if their coop is kept clean chickens droppings do not produce a disturbing odor, and their droppings are easlily composted to make excellent fertilizer. As for noise, a flock of chickens makes no more noise than a dog. Again, this is an area where the current city code is totally adequate. If a coop is not adeqately maintained, and produces an objectionalbe smell, or if the noise from a hen or rooster disturbs the neighbors, this can be reported and taken care of, under the current city code. There is no need to change the current regulations.

    To give an example of how unobtrusive urban chickens can be, in my neighborhood there are at least six people, not including myself, who own chickens. I only know this because I have been told by other neighbors (who were universally supportive of my getting chickens) that 'so-and-so has chickens too', and because one neighbor has a chainlink fence, so his chickens, including two roosters, are visible. Otherwise, the chickens are totally unobtrusive and in no way disturb the neighbors or anyone else.

    As a final note, every other city in the Valley allows people to keep chickens. It would be unfortunate if Mesa were to be the only city to prohibit it, especially at a time when keeping urban chickens is becoming recognized as a vital part of building sustainable cities.

    Sincerly,
    Kathleen Lewis
     
  9. Heelers&Chickens_OhMy

    Heelers&Chickens_OhMy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    AZKat, I think you sound reasonable and downright smart! Excellent!

    I will contact Mesa as well!
     
  10. AZKat

    AZKat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the compliment. I figured that if I used as many buzzwords as I could from the City website that they might listen more.
     

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