When you think of land-use planning, you probably don’t think of city ordinances that control issues like outside burning and backyard livestock. Yet understanding the city ordinances that apply to these situations may be important to you when choosing a place to live. They regulate what you can do with your property and, likewise, what your neighbors can do with theirs. Since the COVID pandemic began in 2020, questions about whether or not it’s legal to raise chickens in a backyard have grown in popularity.
Of course, the first step to answering this question is to determine the zoning for your property. Those living in rural areas generally have farming provisions allowing property owners to raise livestock. However, for properties with residential zoning, the answer isn’t entirely as black and white. Some municipalities allow limited livestock on residential properties while others forbid it.
For example, the City of Medford, Oregon, contains municipal code 5.555 Keeping of Poultry. Property owners within the city limits can raise chickens, ducks, geese, swans, and other domesticated birds of similar size in their yards within certain limits:
- They must be raised for personal, not commercial, purposes.
- No roosters are allowed. (Following this rule will enhance your relationship with your neighbors.)
- The chickens must be fenced in, and the chicken coop cannot be within 4 feet of your neighbor’s property.
- The chickens, fenced area, and the coop cannot be in the front yard setback.
- The area must be maintained safely, including complying with building and fire codes.
- Harvesting methods must be humane and sanitary.
Another important note for Medford homeowners is that some fowl are prohibited from residential properties regardless of the setup. Residential property owners cannot keep ostriches, emus, peacocks, turkeys, or similar birds.
Do you have questions about your current or potential property, such as whether or not you can raise chickens in your yard?
It’s important to know what to expect from a property you are considering buying or how you can use land you already own. Questions like these may not seem significant when compared to issues such as running a business from a residential property. Still, the answers can alter the quality of life for homeowners considerably.
If you have questions about how property in Southern Oregon can be used, contact the professionals at Richard Stevens & Associates. We specialize in assisting our clients with all work related to rural and urban land use planning permits and zoning laws. Before investing money in altering or developing your land, give us a call to ensure you’re doing it right.