Aurora chickens can come home to roost, legally

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AURORA | After years of debate, chickens will finally be allowed to roost in residents’ backyards.

Close to 90 backyard-chicken advocates of all ages filled council chambers Monday, holding small pieces of paper denoting which ward they belonged to. During a public hearing, Aurora residents touted the myriad health benefits to owning the backyard birds, and pointed to their economic value.

“The eggs we go through, that’s worth $21 a week in eggs right now,” said Caley Offenhauser, a Ward V resident and stay-at-home mom.

“There is evidence there is no negative effect on home values whatsoever,” said Robert Kregar, an Aurora resident who works as a financial services representative at Westerra Credit Union. Kregar said Columbine Knolls, a chicken friendly-HOA in nearby Littleton saw its median home prices increase compared to the rest of the city as a result of allowing backyard hens last year.

After years of being banned in Aurora, city council reversed itself last night and will now allow city homeowners to keep 4 backyard chickens if they comply with rules. (Danielle Shriver/ Aurora Sentinel)
After years of being banned in Aurora, city council reversed itself last night and will now allow city homeowners to keep 4 backyard chickens if they comply with rules. (Danielle Shriver/ Aurora Sentinel)

Aurora City Council voted 6 to 4 in approval of the measure.  Ward IV Councilwoman Molly Markert and Ward V Council Member Bob Roth voted against it, citing their wards’ opposition to backyard chickens, along with At-Large Councilman Pierce and Ward VI Councilman Bob Broom.

“Being a council member-at-large, I’ve had a lot of people tell me they don’t want to see chickens in Aurora,” Pierce said.

“In the last three-and-a-half days, 87 calls came in favor of allowing chickens. There was only one against,” said Councilwoman Sally Mounier.

The measure stipulates that residents need a permit for the chickens, and homeowners associations would be allowed to prohibit the backyard birds. Chicken coops also need to be located at least 15 feet from neighboring properties. Roosters will still be illegal for Aurora residents to own.

The ordinance allows residents to own no more than 4 hens. Council amended the ordinance to require that residents pay a $150 fine for keeping roosters beyond 30 days after receiving a violation notice.