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City of Ithaca, NY
Tompkins County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Added 6-1-2016 by Ord. No. 2016-13]
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
LOT
As defined in § C-73C(1) of the City Charter.
LOT SQUARE FOOTAGE
As defined in § C-73C(1) of the City Charter.
PROPERTY CLASS CODE
As defined in § C-73C(1) of the City Charter.
REAR YARD
As defined in § 325-3 of the City Code.
[Amended 5-1-2019 by Ord. No. 2019-10]
A. 
Up to six female chickens may only be kept on those lots with a property class code of 210, 215, 220, 240, 250, or substantially identical successor designations.
B. 
Chickens may only be kept on those lots possessing a lot square footage of more than 2,000 square feet.
C. 
No chicken facility or any structure that houses chickens or any fenced pen area, either temporarily or permanently, shall be located within any of the following prohibited areas:
(1) 
Within the setback requirements of the zone in which it is located;
(2) 
Within 20 feet of any adjacent lot's residential principal structure or accessory structure that contains a residential unit; and
(3) 
Within five feet from any abutting residential property line, unless the adjacent owner agrees in writing to a lesser setback.
D. 
Chickens may only be kept by a domiciliary of a dwelling unit located on the lot on which the chickens are kept.
E. 
Chickens must be kept in and confined in a properly designed and constructed coop or chicken house, or a fenced and covered enclosure that is at least four square feet per chicken in size, which additionally includes a run. Each covered coop and run combined shall be located in, and shall not cover more than 50% of, the rear yard of the lot.
F. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to allow chickens to run at large upon the streets, alleys or other public places of the City, or upon the property of any other person.
G. 
During daylight hours the adult chickens shall have access to the chicken coop and, weather permitting, shall have access to an outdoor enclosure on the subject property, adequately fenced to contain the chickens and to prevent access to the chickens by dogs and other predators.
H. 
Chicken feed must be in rodent-resistant and weather-proof containers.
I. 
A chicken coop, and the premises where the chicken coop is located, shall be maintained in a condition such that the facility or chickens do not produce noise or odor that creates a nuisance for adjoining lots and the responsible domiciliary and the owner shall remove any odorous or unsanitary condition. The lot owner shall be responsible for the repair on any adjoining lot of any damage caused by the chickens, including but not limited to damage to dwellings, structures and yards, and shall be responsible for repair of any unsafe condition.
J. 
The person keeping the chickens shall abide by all solid waste storage and collection standards of the City's Exterior Property Maintenance Code, § 331-7.
K. 
Roosters and guinea fowl are expressly prohibited, regardless of the age or maturity of the bird.
L. 
Registration pursuant to § 164-28 is required for the keeping of chickens.
M. 
Registrants must provide evidence of having completed a seminar regarding the care of chickens in an urban environment from the Cornell Cooperative Extension Office, or similarly qualified organization acceptable to the Clerk's Office.
[Amended 5-1-2019 by Ord. No. 2019-10]
A. 
Registration shall take place at the City of Ithaca Clerk's Office upon submission of a $35 registration fee, and verification of a completed chicken-keeping seminar.
B. 
The City Clerk and Police and/or Cooperative Extension shall report to a committee of Common Council annually about the numbers of households registered to keep chickens and any complaints arising as a result.
C. 
As a courtesy, property owners shall notify the City Clerk at such time when they are no longer keeping chickens.
D. 
The City Clerk may revoke registration for a specific site via written notice to the property owner when the City Clerk or designee finds, at his or her sole discretion, that any requirements of this article are not met, a rebuttable presumption of which shall be created by (a) a record of three or more complaints to the Ithaca Police Department about a specific site's chickens, (b) on the recommendation of Cornell Cooperative Extension, or (c) on the recommendation of the Ithaca Police Department. Upon revocation, the City Clerk shall notify the owner in writing of the same, in compliance with § 164-29, and if the revocation stands, the owner must remove the chickens from the property in coordination with such assistance as may be available from the Cornell Cooperative Extension Office, who may assist with rehoming them.
A. 
No more than 20 pilot registrations for the keeping of chickens shall be approved under this Article IV.
B. 
Registration shall take place at the City of Ithaca Clerk's office upon submission of a registration fee of $35 and verification of a completed chicken-keeping seminar.
C. 
The City Clerk and Police Department shall, at least three months prior to the expiration of the pilot program, report to a Committee of the Common Council on the status of the pilot program.
D. 
Should the pilot program not be extended after the two-year period, the Cornell Cooperative Extension Office may help rehome the hens in the program.
E. 
The City Clerk may revoke registration for a specific site via written notice to the property owner when the City Clerk or designee finds, at his or her sole discretion, that any requirements of this article are not met, a rebuttable presumption of which shall be created by a record of three or more complaints to the Ithaca Police Department about a specific site's chickens, on the recommendation of Cornell Cooperative Extension, or on the recommendation of the Ithaca Police Department. Upon revocation, the City Clerk shall notify the owner, in writing, of the same, in compliance with § 164-30, and if the revocation stands, the owner must remove the hens from the property in coordination with such assistance as may be available from the Cornell Cooperative Extension Office, who may assist with rehoming them.
The remedies provided by this article are cumulative and not mutually exclusive and are in addition to any other rights, remedies, and penalties available to the City under any other provision of law.
A. 
Any chickens that are not kept as required in this article shall be deemed a public nuisance, and the owner or custodian shall be given 30 days to rectify the conditions creating the public nuisance. In any case in which the City intends to correct a violation of this chapter, including removing and confiscating any chickens present, and then bill the property owner for the correction of the violation, the City Clerk or his/her designee shall notify the registrant and the owner of the property and, where relevant, the registered agent who has assumed responsibility as outlined in § 178-5 of this Code, in writing, of any violation of this chapter.
B. 
Any notice required by this section shall be served in person or by mail to the address on the registration form and the address appearing on the City tax roll, requiring such person, within a time specified in such notice but in no event less than 30 days from the service or mailing thereof, to comply with this chapter and to abate the nuisance and, as appropriate, to remove the chickens. Such notice shall also state that the property owner may contest the finding of the City Clerk by making a written request to have a hearing on the matter held at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Public Works.
C. 
Any request for such a hearing must be mailed and postmarked or personally delivered to the City Clerk within 14 days of the service or mailing of notice, and any such written request for a hearing shall automatically stay further enforcement concerning the alleged violation pending such hearing. The decision of the Board of Public Works, by majority vote, shall be binding, subject to any further judicial review available to either the City or the property owner.
D. 
Upon the failure of a registrant or property owner to comply with the notice of violation of this chapter (or, alternatively, to request a hearing as aforesaid within the time limit stated in such notice, or upon a Board of Public Works' determination, after such a hearing, that a violation exists), the City Clerk shall refer the matter, by memorandum, to the Superintendent of Public Works, who shall cause such premises to be put in such condition as will comply and shall charge the cost thereof to the owner of said premises, including a charge of 50% for supervision and administration. The minimum charge to the property owner for such work shall be $50.
E. 
The City Chamberlain shall promptly present to the owner of any parcel so corrected a bill rendered for such services, as certified by the Superintendent of Public Works. If not paid within 30 days, the cost thereof shall be assessed against the property, added to its tax and become a lien thereon, collectible in the same manner as delinquent City taxes. Appeals from this section shall only be permitted if written notice of appeal is received by the Ithaca City Clerk within 45 days after the mailing of the bill from the Chamberlain, and such appeals shall be taken to the Board of Public Works.