City sees increase in complaints about chickens
by Laura Haley
Contributing Writer
Nov 14, 2013 | 3510 views | 0 0 comments | 58 58 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Backyard chickens have become popular in Moab, but recently, neighbors in some areas have complained about noise and other issues. Times-Independent file photo
Backyard chickens have become popular in Moab, but recently, neighbors in some areas have complained about noise and other issues. Times-Independent file photo
It has been five years since the Moab City Council approved an ordinance allowing city residents to raise chickens in their backyards, and city staff said this week that complaints by neighbors are on the rise. Moab City Planning Director Jeff Reinhart told the council this week that recently there has been a noticeable increase in the number of complaints about backyard chickens.

“It’s become a real issue,” he said, adding that the city has been receiving about one complaint per month.

“We’re getting complaints in areas of town that historically we’ve never had complaints,” Reinhart said.

The presence of roosters in town in the chief complaint, he said, despite the fact that roosters are not allowed to be kept inside city limits.

Reinhart said he believes part of the problem is that many residents are not taking the time to obtain the permit required for raising backyard chickens. During the process of applying for a permit, would-be chicken owners also are given detailed information about the city’s regulations.

“Often the rooster complaints point toward them not having a permit,” Moab City Manager Donna Metzler said.

The permit that allows residents to keep backyard chickens is free of charge, and the process is quick and easy, Reinhart said. After filling out an application, which can be found online or at the Moab city website,, a member of Moab city staff will conduct a brief onsite inspection to ensure that all the code requirements are met.

“It takes about eight minutes,” Reinhart said. “Everyone is in and out.”

Moab code allows residents to keep up to 12 hens, as long as the eggs are meant for personal use. Roosters are not allowed, and the permit-holder must comply with the necessary requirements for a chicken coop in addition to a hen yard.

“Just come down and get a permit,” Reinhart said. “It’s free.”

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