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Chickens in Edmond allowed on larger properties, with a $25 permit

EDMOND — Owners of chickens and laying hens can start April 26 getting a permit now that it is legal to have the birds in Edmond on lots 30,000 square feet or larger.

City council members this week approved an ordinance allowing the chickens and laying hens in Edmond backyards, but owners must purchase a $25 permit from the city clerk.

“We are currently developing the permit process and will have more information as we approach the effective date,” City Clerk Kory Atcuson said Tuesday.

Anyone who lives on land zoned for agricultural purposes or is larger than five acres does not need to purchase the city permit, according to the new ordinance that becomes law on Saturday.

A campaign to get urban chickens in Edmond has been underway for almost a year after Lainee Copeland received a visit from a code enforcement officer who said her six hens had to go or she would be fined $200 a day.

Edmond originally allowed chickens only on property zoned agricultural.

Copeland, who lives in Edmond's Chimney Hills housing addition, formed Edmond Urban Chickens, a group of more than 750 advocates fighting to get the birds in Edmond backyards.

Supporters wanted people living on smaller, 6,000-square-foot lots, to be able to have chickens in their backyards, but the city council would not go that far.

People living on land 30,000 square feet in size, which is .68 of an acre, or larger can have no more than eight chickens.

Copeland couldn't hold back the tears Monday night as she repeatedly said the council's vote was unanimous, something she didn't think she might ever see.

"I am satisfied," Copeland said. "I am proud how far we have come."

She is hoping the 30,000-square-foot lot requirement might be changed some day if the chickens' owners follow the rules and the city council realizes the birds would be fine on a smaller lot.

An estimated 90 percent of the Edmond Urban Chicken members live on lots smaller than 30,000 square feet.

"If we do it perfectly for at least a year, it might work like a pilot program," Copeland said. "I can't believe they said 'Yes.' "

Chicken owners who are convicted of violating the new ordinance can be fined up to $200.

No roosters are allowed in the city limits with the new ordinance.

The more land a person owns, the more chickens they can have in their backyards.

No more than a dozen chickens are allowed on land between one acre and two acres in size. That increases to 18 chickens for property between two acres and three acres.

People who have between three acres and four acres can own up to 24 chickens.

The flock can increase to 30 if a person has between four acres and five acres.

From dusk until dawn, chickens or laying hens must be kept within the coop, the ordinance requires.

The minimum size for a coop is 4 square feet per chicken or laying hen. The minimum size for a run is 8 square feet per chicken or laying hen.

A coop must be a permanent structure and must be predator resistant. Any open wall or windows must be designed and screened to prevent access by predators.

Any electrical or heat sources must comply with the city building code.

"This has been a hard issue, I think, for me and, I think, for most people up here," said Councilwoman Elizabeth Waner. "But I greatly appreciate the demeanor of both sides and how they have contributed to the discussion.

"I am sure what we have is not going to make everyone happy. I appreciate the process that everyone participated in and we have arrived at a conclusion."

Diana Baldwin

Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote the original stories about the... Read more ›