Granite Shoals to allow backyard chickens and beehives

After some give and take, the Granite Shoals City Council gave the thumbs-up to backyard chickens and beehives.

The council on Aug. 25 approved amending part of Granite Shoals’ animal control ordinance to allow residents to keep chickens and beehives on their properties within the city limits.

During a meeting in July, City Manager Jeff Looney and Police Chief Gary Boshears balked at the idea out of concern it would add to the workload of patrol officers. However, several councilors were in favor of allowing chickens and beehives, and Councilor Steve Hougen and City Attorney Joshua Katz worked together to craft an ordinance that was fair to both residents and city staff. 

Under the new rules, residents can keep hens but not roosters, unless they live in a zoning district that allows male chickens. Other stipulations are:

  • no more than six hens at a residence;
  • chicken coops must be in backyards behind the facade of the house and not visible from the street;
  • coops and runs cannot be located within 25 feet from a business or a dwelling occupied by someone other than the owner;
  • coops and runs are subject to inspection by the city’s animal control officer or another designated representative;
  • and hens aren’t allowed to roam free on city streets or city right-of-ways.

First-time violators of any of these stipulations will receive a warning, according to the city. Subsequent violations may result in penalties. 

Hen owners are not required to register with the city or pay fees.

Residents who have beehives must register with the city each year but do not have to pay a fee. Those who own six or more beehives would be considered commercial operators and must pay a fee. 

The ordinance requires beehives be 150 feet from the nearest dwelling, but the police chief can waive that requirement. 

And if the bees interfere with “peaceful occupancy” of another property, the hives would be considered unlawful, no matter the distance. 

Addressing the council, Boshears said the “simpler” rules on chickens and beehives would be easier for his officers to enforce.

In other business, the council extended the city’s burn ban to Sept. 8 and learned City Hall would reopen to the public on Monday, Aug. 31, at 8 a.m. It has been closed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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