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Adventures in Urban Homesteading

For More/Different Animals

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If you want more animals than are allowed under the new FPA ordinance (i.e. 9 chickens, or a rooster or an alpaca) then you need to go through the dual permitting process for a Zoning Use Permit and an Animal Control Livestock Permit.

Animal Control

The process begins at Animal Control. You must obtain a Pre-Approval Letter.

To do this you need to submit a request letter to Animal Control. You can drop it off (which is a good way to confirmed they’ve received it) or mail to:

Director of Animal Control
1241 W. Bayaud Ave.
Denver, CO 80223

This letter must contain:

  • Your name, address, and phone number
  • The number of each type of livestock you would like to house at your property
  • Size of the area where the animal(s) will be held
  • Veterinarian name, address, and phone number
  • Indicate if the animal(s) are spayed or neutered
  • List of vaccinations the animal has received

Animal Control will arrange for an Animal Control officer to visit your property. You will need to show the officer the space where the animals will be held and describe the structure(s) that will house the animals. Note: You do not need to have the fencing, structures, etc in place at the time of the officer’s visit – you just need to be able to show where they will be placed.

If Animal Control doesn’t have any objections to your request, they will mail you a Pre-Approval Letter.

The above process could take as little as a week, or it could take longer if Animal Control is busy and not able to quickly review your request or arrange for an officer to visit your property. You may need to contact Animal Control to check on the status of your request.Note: There is no way to directly call Animal Control. Their listed phone number (303-698-0076) is really just a number for 311, the city’s general information line. You have to leave a message with an operator and wait for Animal Control will return your call.

Zoning

The next step involves receiving a Zoning Use Permit. To do this you need to go to the Zoning office, located in the Webb Municipal Office Building at 201 W. Colfax Ave.

When you arrive at Zoning you will meet with one of the zoning project coordinators, who will serve as your case manager and primary contact through the process of receiving the Use Permit for your livestock.

Zoning will ask you for information about the animals you are requesting and the manner in which they will be kept. If you bring a copy of the letter you submitted to Animal Control, that should give them most of the information they are looking for. They may ask for additional details, such as how the waste will be managed and whether you intend to allow reproduction.

Note: Your zoning case manager may also talk with you about any structures you intend to erect to house the animals. The Use Permit for the keeping of livestock is completely separate from any structural permits, so there is no need to deal with the structure issue at this time if you don’t want to. However, if you are going to build a permanent structure for your animals (i.e. one that is cemented into the ground) you will need to get a building permit.

Your zoning case manager will give you a big pink sign that you must place in a visible location on the front of your house for 10 days. The pink sign will detail the types and quantities of animals you are requesting, and it will give any concerned parties the address they can use to submit statements either for or against the animals. It is important that you make sure the sign indicates that your animals will be female (if they will be) and their size classification (like “dwarf” goats or “bantam” hens). This may assuage a neighbor’s concerns.

The most helpful thing is to speak to your neighbors (especially the ones directly adjacent to you) before putting the sign up on your house. Explain what you are doing, how you will care for the animals, how you will deal with any noise or odor problems if they occur, and make sure your neighbor knows that your door is always open to them. (Maybe offer to give them fresh eggs from time to time). The act of giving your neighbors a “heads up” will prevent them from being concerned when they see a strange sign go up on your house. It will also let you know if your neighbors have any objections, and allow you to address their concerns before they voice their objection to Zoning.

During this first visit to Zoning you will need to pay $100 (this is the cost of applying for a Use Permit). Now begins the process of Administrative Review, which lasts for 30 days. Zoning will inform your neighborhood organization and your city councilperson about your request for a variance. During the first 10 days of your Administrative Review you are required to post the big pink sign on the front of your house. Zoning will send someone by to photograph your house sometime within the 10 days, so the sign really does need to be up and clearly visible. After 10 days you can remove the sign, but any interested parties have the full 30 days to lodge a complaint. You are allowed to check in with your zoning case manager periodically to see if there have been any complaints.

After the 30 day period has passed, you will go back to Zoning to meet with your case manager. If there have not been any complaints, you will then need to give Zoning a copy of your Pre-Approval letter from Animal Control. Zoning will give you an approved Use Permit. They will also give you a big green sign, which you need to post in a visible location on your house for 15 days. The green sign informs everyone that your request has been approved, and it gives them information on how to appeal that decision.

If the Zoning Administrator denies your permit request, you will need to go before the Board of Adjustments and plead your case. This involves an additional cost (I believe it’s $150), and at this point you would want to bring neighbors and others who support your position to the hearing.

Your Use Permit does not need to be renewed, unless you want to increase the number of animals you have.

To view the relevant parts of the zoning code, click here. Go to Chapter 8 (Animals) then Article IV (Livestock and Fowl).

Back to Animal Control

You will now take your approved Use Permit back to Animals Control. At this time you will need to pay $50 for fowl and/or $100 for livestock, and they will give you a Livestock Permit. The permit is good for one year, and must be renewed annually (at full cost).

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