Chicken List Guides Richmond Heights Residents Through Permit Process

The list and a collection of chicken resources became available Jan. 25 to residents who apply to own chickens in the city.

Prospective chicken owners now have a step-by-step guide to help them through the permitting process.

The city updated its permit Jan. 25 to include the eight-point tutorial along with a list of chicken books, online discussion forums, websites, workshops and other resources available to St. Louisans.

"Since I had coordinated the ordinance effort, I felt it was important to keep in touch with the city during the implementation phase," stated Linda Lieb, a member of the 's sustainability committee, in an email interview. 

"Several months ago, while we were working to have the ordinance passed, I had offered to help the city with a list of resources that would help residents find reliable information for raising chickens, building coops, etc. We (our chickens committee) wanted to be sure that residents were well-educated before they embarked on this kind of investment of time and money."

One permit request made, step-by-step guide crafted
Since the first of the year, one homeowner has applied for a permit. That process is underway for the residence, which is located in the Scarsdale subdivision off of McKnight Road, Building and Zoning Commissioner Dave Reary stated in an email.

Lieb and Reary worked together to clarify several steps of the permitting process and add information explaining how residents can apply for a variance.

"If someone wants to place their coop closer to the property line than the setbacks say, they just have to get written permission from their neighbors and include that with their permit application," Lieb stated.

Requirements include setback review, application fee
Residents may own up to five chickens and must follow these steps when applying for a permit:

  1. Request application packet from the Building Department.
  2. Review application packet.
  3. Determine how setbacks from property lines affect placement of where coop/pen can be located and review other criteria.  If your desired placement would encroach on a required side or rear property line setbacks, you need to get written permission from neighbors showing that they agree to the placement.  You will need to submit the neighbor(s) written permission(s) along with your application to the Building Department. 
  4. Submit application along with the $25.00 fee and drawing of rear yard showing proposed placement of coop/pen. Also include your neighbor(s) written permission(s) for placement, if applicable.
  5. Your proposed coop/pen placement will be reviewed and if in compliance, approved. 
  6. Build coop and pen.
  7. Schedule inspection for placement review.
  8. Permit issued.

Resource guide draws on books, St. Louis experts
Lieb developed the resources document in December using her own research and the recommendations of Bill Ruppert, a chicken-raising expert in Kirkwood, and Guy Niere, a St. Louis Community College teacher who offers a chicken-raising class. A copy is attached to this article.

Other resources listed include books available at the ; a chicken website managed by the ; and classes offered periodically by the and the Friends of Richmond Heights group.

Chicken mentor program and workshop planned
Lieb also is coordinating a mentor program for residents interested in raising chickens.

"I'm looking forward to seeing this help residents who might be nervous about raising their own chickens," she said. "If they can see how someone else has set things up and learn from others' experiences, they can go into this adventure with their eyes wide open. We don't have any mentoring set up yet. Once we have a request for a mentor, I'll then contact chicken owners I know to locate someone who can speak/meet with the prospective owner and show them their set up."

A chicken-raising workshop is planned by the Friends group, though details haven't been finalized. Those interested in getting more information may contact Lieb by calling 314-646-8818.

"Our Friends group is pleased at the outcome" of the permitting discussion, she stated.


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