Phoenix will decide on livestock law within city limits

PHOENIX — Fresh eggs and honey can be legally produced inside city limits under a new law expected to be passed Monday by the City Council.

Goat milk is OK, too, as long as the goat providing the milk isn't much bigger than a Great Dane.

Nearly a year after residents asked city officials to consider allowing chickens and bees on residential properties inside city limits, council members will give final consideration to an ordinance allowing certain kinds of animals to be kept for food.

City Manager Jane Turner said city officials researched ordinances in surrounding cities and towns and hoped proposed guidelines would allow residents to grow and produce their own food in a challenging economy without, hopefully, causing problems for other residents.

If approved as written, the ordinance would allow chickens, bees, rabbits and goats weighing less than 100 pounds to be raised inside city limits.

Pigs and roosters are out.

Brook Knudsen, one of a handful of residents who brought the issue to city officials after neighbors complained about her chickens and bee hives, said she was excited to learn the council could grant final approval this week.

"If they approve what they're saying, we find it very fair," she said.

Knudsen and her fiance, Zeb Herinckx, keep a pair of beehives and several chickens on their C Street property.

"We're just glad to know that people who want to have livestock and grow or raise their own food will now be able to do so," she said.

B Street homeowner Joan Smith, who initiated complaints last spring, largely due to a vocal rooster on the couple's property and concerns about bees, said she was satisfied that the proposed ordinance would regulate types of animals and set conditions that must be met.

Under the ordinance, the animals must not cause livability issues for neighbors.

"I'm not opposed to it. I'm just glad there are specific rules now. It is really important because people need a way to grow their own food, and (the city) has assured me they will be able to enforce the rules," Smith said.

"As far as the bees, they're pretty much a natural thing unless you're like some people and do it as a business. When there was no ordinance, there were people with three or four hives."

Smith said she still had safety concerns about bee allergies and swarms, adding, "When they come into my yard, they die."

An earlier version of this story listed Talent in the headline.

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