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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions December 17, 2014


2/18/2012 1:01:00 PM
Letter: Chicken police smacks of bureaucratic authoritarianism

Editor:

I understand that the Board of Supervisors soon will discuss the issue of “allowing” chickens to be kept on parcels in Yavapai County.

Apparently, just a few years back, livestock was set-up in County rules as an “accessory” rather than a “primary use” for a parcel of vacant land.

According to the Planning & Zoning Department at Yavapai County, one must first have a residence on a piece of land before he can have livestock -- i.e. chickens on that land, and must have 70,000 square feet of available land to be “allowed to have any.” I believe this was a bad decision in that:

1) In many cases, it takes away from the owner of the land, his ability to use it in a manner best befitting his needs.

2) How much space does a chicken really take and what kind of a nuisance factor are they really for neighbors? Barring the presence of a rooster, they make very little noise, yet contribute to the rural atmosphere.

3) They provide a service to the land owner in that they keep down the insects, help till the soil, fertilize the ground, produce eggs regularly, and are even a joy to watch.

I would like to suggest chickens again be allowed on vacant land, or on a residential property, with perhaps a minimum 10,000 square feet being allowed 6 chickens, an acre being allowed 24, and for each additional 10,000 square feet being allowed an additional 6 chickens. The only caveat I would suggest is that the county be allowed authority to intervene in cases where the chickens are not appropriately contained, roam into neighbors properties, are not kept in a clean, odor-contained environment, or are noisy (as in roosters) thus creating a nuisance. These instances, I believe would present few complaints by neighbors and very little county intervention.

As for other forms of livestock on vacant land, I feel this issue too, needs to be addressed, as the county is arbitrarily and inappropriately precluding an owner the use of his land. Mandating livestock be an “accessory” to the use of the land is totally contrary to our founding fathers intent of the jurisdiction of government and smacks of bureaucratic authoritarianism.

Gari Basham

Cottonwood



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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, February 24, 2012
Article comment by: Maybe I missed something

Mr. Slater Slater,

Did you know that backyard chickens are legal in the City of Cottonwood?

Did you know that chickens and roosters are also legal in the Verde Villages for children who belong to 4H?

What exactly is your problem with backyard chickens in the Verde Villages?
Do you have a problem with chickens in general? Do you have Alektorophobia?

There are hundreds of ducks and geese at the pond every year, do you think they are a problem too?

The Verde Valley is renown for our diversity of wild birds also, there is a festival every year. Is this an issue for you too?

Just wondering . . .


Posted: Friday, February 24, 2012
Article comment by: Gaia Gurl

Slater,

I moved here for the MOUNTAINS, the wide open places and the CHANGE of seasons. I HATE the humidity . . . that is why I did not move to Georgia. But I find that the PEOPLE are the same. I did not move here for the PEOPLE but for the NATURAL beauty of the surroundings.

By the way, I have a gun and a truck, I am also known to say Y'ALL. Since I am OUTSIDE most of the year . . . I also got a RED NECK! lol

I have had CHICKENS for over 3 years, not finding a problem with the MANURE. I compost it and it goes right back into my gardens as FERTILIZER.

You do know THIS is what was done for thousands of YEARS, before Dupont, Cargill and Monsanto. Check your history, the REAL gold was in BAT GUANO! lol Farmers SOUGHT it out when the chickens, cows and horses did not PROVIDE enough.

This is called ORGANIC gardening, LEARN about it . . . it is healthier SOIL, which grows healthier FOOD! No CHEMICALS needed, because the chickens also EAT the bugs, so it is less expensive too! As a BONUS they eat kitchen scraps, have not had to PAY for GARBAGE pickup in YEARS, but then I RECYCLE too!

Poutry Farmer,

Just WHEN did this chicken Disneyland EXIST? Because that is NOT how they are farming them today, there is just NOT enough PROFIT in it.

http://www.mnn.com/local-reports/georgia/local-blog/georgia-is-top-producer-of-factory-farmed-poultry

And I DO know that ONCE UPON A TIME, our food was grown in a HEALTHY manner . . . but not NOW. Glad for you that YOUR experience was a good one . . .


Posted: Friday, February 24, 2012
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Lived in Georgia myself Gaia girl, growing up
in florida you should know,the saint johns river
runs north for a reason.Georgia SUCKS.
Arizona is no Georgia or you would have moved there.You want chickens in the hood?Expect
manure spreaders next.


Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2012
Article comment by: Poultry Farmer

@Gaia Girl.

Good and fair questions. No, never a recall. The pullets had about 4 sq ft per bird. The hens were fenced outside during the day and had 2 feet of roost space at night. This particular poultry farm was over 200 acres in Northern GA.
Young roosters were grown out as fryers and sold at 3 to 5 pounds. At that time, McDonald's and Swift were the big buyers.

There were no disease outbreaks. Our chicks came in from a huge hatchery and we lost very few. Those that we did lose were buried.

No drugs after 1 week of age. Slaughter was done at the packing house. Birds were caught after dark to keep them calm and shipped to Atlanta for slaughter..about 90 miles.

Not all commercial poultry farms are terrible. That particular farm has sold out but not because of poor practices. The old man died and his sons wanted to be big city boys. It is all houses now with ticky tacky houses and rose bushes.

Lastly, I've never voted conservative in my life. I believe in my freedom and the government only wants to limit that so I will become a "sheeple". Won't happen.



Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2012
Article comment by: People dump in VV folks

I think a couch left in the road for over two months constitutes a dump.

The couch was dumped and it sat there for quite a while.

It is gone now.

Finally.


Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2012
Article comment by: Gaia Gurl

Was there ever a RECALL at that 100,000 HEN state of the art poultry farm?

Tell us ALL about it . . . PLEASE.

What did you do with the MALE chicks?

How much SPACE did the chickens have?

What kind of DRUGS did you give the chickens?

How many chickens DIED everyday of "natural" causes?

How did you SLAUGHTER the ones that lived long enough to get slaughtered?

Tell us all about your EXPERIENCE and I guarantee there will BE a heckofa LOT more ILLEGAL backyard chickens in Yavapai COUNTY!

I did not say anything about GEORGIA or ARIZONA that is not TRUE, not stereotypes . . . ARCHETYPES.

Besides I was responding to Slater, Slater who said, "You can just relax and pretend you live in Georgia." He IMPLIED that Arizona was somehow better than Georgia, I am not seeing a DIFFERENCE.

Arizonans want to be LEFT alone by GOVERNMENT? LOL Then why the heck do you keep voting in these CONSERVATIVES, that want to run EVERY aspect of your LIVES?

Bible thumping in PUBLIC high schools.
No CHICKENS unless you have ACREAGE.
NO healthcare rights if you are a WOMAN.
DRONES flying FREELY overhead.
Road closures and only CATTLE on PUBLIC lands.

No SARCASM here, just the FACTS!




Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2012
Article comment by: Sarcasm Aside

@Gaia Girl,
I lived in GA for three years and worked on a 100,000 hen poultry farm, state of the art at that time. To slam GA, to invoke stereotypes of rednecks and trucks etc. does not advance our hope to have chickens allowed in the County on smaller lots.

That is akin to me saying you must be from that crazy state called CA because as a stereotype, they all want to tell everyone else how to live. That would wrong too.

Some folks here have referred to Verde Villages as a dump. Thant is wrong. Not everyone aspires to live in a perfectly manicured little postage stamp of land. We Arizonans are an independent breed who mostly want to be left alone by government. I think we get along with our neighbors or at least act civilly and leave each other alone. I don't care what my neighbor's property looks like...it doesn't belong to me.

And all this talk about resale value is whooey. We all know property is only worth what someone else is willing to pay and right now, that "ain't" much. Look at your 2013 Tax valuations.

Let's live in peace, pursue the best use of our land by our personal standards and stop castigating all of those who don't live up to our false standards.


Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2012
Article comment by: Gaia Gurl

Slater slater

Do you THINK you are some kind of RAP singer?

Nonsence WORDS, POOR grammar, HORENDOUS punctuation . . . sounds like you are just trying out your TUNES on us . . .

DON'T quit your day job! lol

Awe come on . . . do you really THINK Arizona is ANY better than Georgia? Red necks, guns, bible thumpers, pick up trucks . . . pretty much the same to me! I should know . . . I GREW up in Florida, been to Georgia many times . . . only difference is the TWANG!

Why are you SO afraid of a few CHICKENS?



Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Article comment by: Voice of reason?

I think the reason there are so many chickens in the Verde Villages is because they share a Cottonwood address and zip code. I do not think they realize that they do not live in the city limits of Cottonwood, where chickens are actually legal for homeowners now.

They may not realize that they are actually governed by the county and that it is the Yavapai County Sheriff that polices them. Cottonwood police are frequently in the Villages, many live here and I am sure a lot of their investigations bring them here also.

Allowing the roosters for 4 H kids set a precedence a long time ago, even if it is not legally binding. My neighbors heard the roosters years ago and got their own chickens based on the fact that they thought they were legal here.

The fair thing to do for chicken owners would be to align the zoning in the County with the City of Cottonwood. Otherwise there are going to be a lot of angry homeowners who may have to get rid of chickens they have now had for years.

My neighbors chickens have never bothered me and I have appreciated the eggs they have shared with me from time to time.


Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Chickens in the Hood? Great idea,their so
much fun to catch and eat.All you need is
some corn ,a fishing pole and the game is on kids.
Rooster's are so comforting to listen to at sunrise.You can just relax and pretend you live
in Georgia.


Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Article comment by: whey knot

The hearing officers' salary is paid for by the County. He is on the County payroll. That sounds like a conflict of interest to me, right there. How many times has the HO ruled in the defendants favor?

Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Article comment by: Irresponsible dog owners, not chickens the real problem

Agree 100%. Irresponsible dog owners are the biggest problem. It was bad when I lived in Cottonwood and it is terrible in Camp Verde. Of course I'm talking about the typical chicken wire fake stucco homes on a fifth of an acre or less - that is where uncontrolled dog barking is the most detrimental to quality of life. Excepting an overly boistrious rooster, chickens don't bother me. Keeping dogs outside 365/24/7 and going away to work while they bark all day is inexcusable, but until you are retired/homebound, or work from home - you may not realize just how bad this problem is. Dogs can be trained and/or fitted with a bark collar or kept inside.

Posted: Monday, February 20, 2012
Article comment by: good grief

The chickens are smarter than the Yavapai county officials. Keep yavapai county's nose off our land. I'de rather hear the chickens squalking than the board of supervisors squalking any day.

Posted: Monday, February 20, 2012
Article comment by: Don't want to be a Yavapai County Nazi!

"Just remember that we should do what is in the best interests of the majority, not just the special few."

So then why does the county land use department work only on a complaint driven basis?

That is why the Verde Villages are a dump with trash everywhere . . . unless you turn in your neighbors, they do not care!

Why do you think there are already so many chickens in the Verde Villages? Unless someone turns them in, the county does not care!

So Yavapai Country does only work for the "special few" who are willing to act like Nazis turning in their Jewish neighbors to the Gestopo.

I for one would rather the county do their job, the one I pay taxes for, than force me to turn in my neighbors. Just because I do not like their barking dogs, their cats peeing in my flower beds or their other outdoor messes, does not mean I do not like my neighbors.

Count me as one for the chickens, I would rather my neighbors have them, then everything else I mentioned.

"Enhance property value?" ROTFLMAO


Posted: Monday, February 20, 2012
Article comment by: Only problem with those nice styrofoam containers

is that they are like a 12 shooter with bullets, any one of which you could die from.

You can play russian roullette, but I for one am not interested.

Just how many recalls of food where there last year alone? Just how many people died? How many diseases were not caught by recalls?

Just how are you feeling today?



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