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Jun 11, 2014 12:03 AM by Rebecca Taylor

Urban chickens and farms being discussed at Tucson zoning meeting

TUCSON - A growing number of people are raising urban chickens and growing their own backyard flock in city limits.

Some want stricter limits on the number you can keep, an effort is underway to revise zoning regulations.

A public meeting was held Tuesday night to discuss the new possible regulations. Right now a person can keep 24 hens. The proposal would limit that number to eight.

About 100 people came to voice support, concerns and raise questions about urban agriculture in Tucson. Some feel that by allowing only eight hens, homes and schools would be impacted.

A teenager in the audience asked, "In my school we have 10 or so chickens and I was wondering how this would affect my school if this was to be instated?"

Another woman commented, "Knowing where my food comes from, I alone am responsible for making sure it is safe. The less dependant we come, the safer and more sustainable we'll be as well."

Another hot topic discussed, was limiting small farm animals to three. That includes miniature goats and rabbits.

Half-acre lots and larger would be allowed more animals.

"If you have one mommy rabbit and one daddy rabbit and they do what mommy and daddy rabbits do, you will get at least four to five kittens per litter," said a woman who raises and shows rabbits.

"There's dogs that weigh more than 70 pounds, my goats are perfectly fine," said another woman. "I don't know how many people in here have land of 20,000 square feet. This is written 'pie in the sky'. Five thousand square feet more, that's all I got. I hope you keep that in mind."

This was the second of three public meetings on the topic. Last month, more than 130 people showed up. This time they moved to a larger venue to accommodate the crowd.

City officials say the proposal is just a draft and community member input is still wanted

A third meeting is scheduled for August. An exact date is to be determined.

If you prefer to email a comment, you can submit your comments to Adam Smith at adam.smith@tucsonaz.gov or Rebecca Ruopp at rebecca.ruopp@tucsonaz.gov.

A draft of the recommended urban agriculture amendments can be read here

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