Chapter 18.153


18.153.010    Purpose.

18.153.020    Definitions.

18.153.030    General standards.

18.153.040    Administration.

18.153.050    Existing use at the time of enactment.

18.153.060    Fee.

18.153.010 Purpose.

This chapter authorizes the keeping in the city of Staunton of what are commonly referred to as backyard hens and prescribes the conditions for the keeping of such chickens within an urban residential environment. It also seeks to protect the residential integrity of the surrounding neighborhood and health and safety of the chickens and other poultry, including the poultry that is a vital part of the agribusiness economy of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. (Ord. 2015-08).

18.153.020 Definitions.

The following words and phrases, as used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings:

“Biosecurity measures” means actions, measures and conditions that promote sanitation and the prevention of disease related to the keeping and maintaining and handling of a chicken or chickens, including: the provision and periodic replacement of dry and clean litter for chicken litter; the disposal of chicken litter only in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and other applicable law and otherwise away from any place where chickens or other poultry and wild birds would have access; the provision and maintenance of clean coops and pens and related equipment, with regular, periodic complete cleaning and disinfection; the washing and disinfection of footwear and equipment that may enter pens and coops; and the washing and disinfection of hands and the change of clothing after any contact with a sick or diseased chicken, other poultry, animal or wildlife prior to contact with other chickens.

“Chicken” means adult female domestic chicken kept pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

“Chicken litter” means any resulting mixture or combination of chicken excreta, manure, feed, feathers and material from the bedding for chickens.

“Coop” means the structure within a pen that houses chickens and is built and maintained with materials as impenetrable barriers so as to keep chickens confined and secure from other animals, providing space of not less than three square feet per chicken.

“Litter” means shavings and other materials to be used or used as chicken bedding.

“Pen” means an area of property enclosed at all times and on all sides, including the top, with a strong fence of mesh wire and other reliable materials as an impenetrable barrier so as to keep all chickens confined and secure from other animals, having space of not less than eight square feet per chicken.

“Processing of chicken” means slaughtering, cutting, boning, canning, salting, stuffing, or rendering a chicken that was or is kept or maintained on property pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

“Property” means an area of land, including any buildings and structures located thereon, in the city of Staunton, Virginia, and owned legally or equitably by a person, regardless of ownership titling of interests, or used under a lease or otherwise by a person(s) for the keeping of chickens.

“Rooster” means an adult male domestic chicken.

“Sanitary conditions” mean conditions at all times of keeping or maintaining or handling of a chicken or chickens and related activities on property in accordance with biosecurity measures and other sanitary-related provisions of this chapter.

“Slaughter” means the act of killing a chicken or chickens. (Ord. 2015-08).

18.153.030 General standards.

Any person keeping chickens on property shall be permitted to use the property to do so as an accessory use to a single-family, two-family, or multifamily dwelling upon the following conditions:

(1) No more than six chickens shall be allowed per property, regardless of the number of dwellings or the ownership interests or use arrangements, with or without consent.

(2) Roosters are prohibited.

(3) Chickens shall not be allowed to roam free and they shall be kept in a pen or coop at all times.

(4) All coops and pens shall be deemed accessory structures and shall comply with the rear yard setback requirement of being not less than 10 feet from the property line at all times.

(5) All coops and pens shall be located in the rear yard only.

(6) All coops and pens must be kept in a sanitary condition at all times, and must be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent offensive odors.

(7) Offensive odors from chickens, manure, or other chicken-related substances shall not be detectable at any time at the property boundaries.

(8) Biosecurity measures as to the pen, coop and chickens and the property shall be maintained at all times, in addition to compliance with all of the provisions and requirements of the SCC and Virginia Code and regulation directives regarding care, shelter, sanitation, health, disease, insect and rodent control and as to cruelty, neglect, noise, reasonable control and other such requirements pertaining to, but not limited to, the adequate care and control of animals in the city.

(9) Absent confinement and security and biosecurity measures being maintained at all times in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, one or more chickens may be removed by an animal control officer.

(10) All feed or other material intended for consumption by a chicken shall be placed and maintained in containers impenetrable by mice, rats, rodents, or other animals, and such container shall be equipped and maintained at all times with tightly fitting caps or lids. The presence of mice, rats, rodents, or other animals on the property in or near an area used for the keeping of chickens shall be proof, without more, that such area is maintained in violation of this chapter.

(11) If any chicken litter or waste is disposed of by use of the city refuse system, it must be double plastic-bagged, with at least 1.5 mil rating, and securely closed and deposited in a city approved receptacle. In addition, any chicken(s) being disposed of shall also be so bagged and securely closed and deposited in a city approved receptacle.

(12) Storage or disposal of litter, waste, and chickens on public land or in or near a sewage or stormwater collection system, facility or stream or pond, water detention facility, or water garden of any kind is strictly prohibited.

(13) There shall be no slaughtering or processing of chicken outdoors.

(14) The sale of chicken eggs on or from the property is prohibited. Off-site sale of chicken eggs shall only be by a home occupation permit issued by the city as provided in Chapter 18.150 SCC.

(15) A chicken may be considered a nuisance animal and shall be subject to the provisions of SCC 6.10.240, Nuisance animals. (Ord. 2015-08).

18.153.040 Administration.

The following pertains to the permit process for keeping chickens and, when necessary, the revocation of such permit:

(1) It shall be unlawful for any persons to keep one or more chickens on property unless the person has been issued a permit for such by the zoning administrator. The application, which the zoning administrator is authorized to promulgate, must, at a minimum, identify the property by address and parcel ID; include a sketch showing the area where the chickens will be housed and all types and sizes of enclosures in which the chickens will be kept; and show all property dimensions and setbacks. Once a one-time zoning permit fee has been paid as provided in SCC 18.153.060 and the site and enclosures have been inspected and approved by the city’s zoning administrator, and the application approved, a permit may be issued. No permit shall be issued to any person or as to any property as to which taxes, fees or other charges owed to the city have not been paid and are in arrears.

(2) The permit applicant must be the owner of the property or must have and submit written consent of the owner of the property as part of the permit application to keep chickens on the property. Upon written notice of the property owner’s withdrawal or cancellation or termination of such approval, the permit shall be revoked by the zoning administrator.

(3) If the permit holder is convicted of any city or state code violation associated with the keeping of chickens, the permit shall be revoked.

(4) In the event of the zoning administrator receiving and verifying three substantial and credible complaints of violation of any provision of this chapter and after notice given of such to the permit holder, the permit shall be revoked.

(5) Upon revocation of the permit, chickens must be removed within 30 days or be subject to removal. Any person(s) so having a permit revoked shall not be allowed, at any time, to make application for another permit for five years.

(6) Upon a finding by the zoning administrator that there is warning or equivalent notice or advisory or guidance issued by federal or state authorities regarding a present or forecasted substantial threat of the potential transmission or spread of avian influenza or other poultry disease, no further permits shall be issued until such time that, by similar notice or advisory or guidance, the threat has been recognized by federal or state authorities as having been eliminated. (Ord. 2015-08).

18.153.050 Existing use at the time of enactment.

Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this chapter, a person whose use of property involves chickens being kept at the time of enactment of the provisions of this chapter shall have a period of 60 days from such date of enactment to comply with the requirements of this chapter. (Ord. 2015-08).

18.153.060 Fee.

The one-time fee for application for a permit to keep chickens shall be as provided under SCC 18.220.020 (zoning permit fee). If the use is discontinued by the applicant for a period of more than two years, a new permit process, as provided in SCC 18.153.040, and a new permit fee will be required. (Ord. 2015-08).