The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday will consider an ordinance that would allow residents to keep up to six female chickens, or hens, at homes in the city, possibly starting this year. No roosters would be allowed, and henhouses would not be allowed in front yards.
Council will consider an ordinance that was adopted by Knoxville in 2010 and amended for potential use in Oak Ridge.
Under the proposed ordinance, which has been requested by City Council members, the Oak Ridge Police Department Division of Animal Control would have authority to permit residents to keep hens. The Oak Ridge Community Development Department would be responsible for permitting and inspecting residential henhouses and fencing for the hens, often referred to as “backyard chickens.”
Fenced enclosures and henhouses for the chickens would have to be properly ventilated, clean, dry, and odor-free. The enclosures and henhouses would have to kept in a neat and sanitary condition and not disturb neighbors due to noise, odor, or other adverse impact. They would have to provide adequate ventilation, sun, and shade, and be built to resist access by rodents, wild birds, and predators, including dogs and cats. The access doors to henhouses would have to be capable of being shut and locked at night.
If adopted, the ordinance would require $25 annual permits for domestic hens, plus a one-time $50 building permit fee for the required henhouse, according to a memo from Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson to City Council members. Permits would expire on December 31 each year, although permits issued in 2016 would extend through December 31, 2017. Only one permit would be allowed per property.
Permits could be suspended or revoked by Animal Control when there is a risk to public health or safety or failure to comply with applicable ordinances or law. [Read more…]