Cortez residents cozying up to new backyard chicken rule

Lauren Watterud, 19, with Mesa Market, hands an austra white chick to Xander Hoventine, 9, on Saturday while picking up the newborns to take home. Xander also is the son of Michael Hovenstine and Gina Cottom. The market has sold nearly 330 chicks during the last two weeks. But if you’re looking to buy just one for Easter, you’re out of luck. The minimum is four, Watterud said. Enlarge photo

Jerry Mcbride/Durango Herald

Lauren Watterud, 19, with Mesa Market, hands an austra white chick to Xander Hoventine, 9, on Saturday while picking up the newborns to take home. Xander also is the son of Michael Hovenstine and Gina Cottom. The market has sold nearly 330 chicks during the last two weeks. But if you’re looking to buy just one for Easter, you’re out of luck. The minimum is four, Watterud said.

CORTEZ – Cortez, like Durango, is about to embrace its backyard chickens.

Currently, Cortez allows chickens to be housed if they are 150 feet from a residence, which the City Council was told is close to impossible.

The council voted 6-1 to approve a second reading to allow chickens in backyards without the buffer. This approach more closely resembles that taken by Durango when it legalized backyard chickens several years ago.

Only one resident attended the Cortez council’s public hearing on the matter Tuesday.

Edmond Tyler said there are residents who are opposed, while many others want to have the opportunity to house chickens.

Tyler also wanted to know if there was any current ordinance or regulation that would prevent homeowners from having chickens.

Planning and Building Director Kirsten Sackett explained to him the 150-foot requirement currently in place.

“Let’s give it a try,” Tyler said. “I think a lot of people would get a lot of value by (this).”

The proposal that city staff members is supporting would allow six female chickens per residence. Durango has the same limit.

Cortez Animal Control Officer Lari Ann Pope said there already are residences housing chickens even though they technically are illegal.

She said the only time she acts is where there is a complaint filed. She said a lot of the complaints involve roosters crowing in the early-morning hours before dawn.

“If someone complains about chickens, then I do my job,” she said.

Council member Matt Keefauver said this item has been discussed for about 10 months, and he has not seen much feedback either way.

The council will vote one final time on this issue at its next meeting March 26.

michaelm@cortezjournal.com

Comments » Read and share your thoughts on this story