Ashland council to hold hearing on raising bees, livestock

The Ashland City Council will hold a public hearing on proposed new standards for the keeping of bees and small livestock such as chickens, ducks, rabbits and miniature goats in town.

The hearing will be held during a meeting that starts at 7 tonight in the Ashland Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St.

The keeping of bees and the raising of small livestock has grown more popular because of increased interest in local food production.

City officials have been trying to balance that trend with a desire to avoid negative impacts on neighborhoods.

Under the proposed standards, residents could keep three beehives on lots that measure less than an acre.

They could have five hives on larger parcels. If a hive is less than 25 feet from a property line, a flyway barrier — such as a wall, fence or dense vegetation — that is at least 6 feet tall would have to be maintained parallel to the property line. The barrier would have to extend at least 10 feet in either direction from the hive.

Roosters, geese and peacocks — which tend to be noisy — would be prohibited.

A resident could keep five adult and five juvenile chickens, quail, pheasants, pigeons, doves or ducks on a parcel of less than 5,000 feet.

One additional adult bird plus one additional juvenile would be allowed for every additional 1,000 square feet.

The new standards include rules for rabbits, miniature goats and turkeys on parcels that measure less than an acre.

Six adult rabbits would be allowed, plus their offspring until the young are weaned.

Two miniature goats would be allowed, plus nursing offspring until the baby goats are weaned.

Solitary miniature goats would not be allowed, and males would have to be neutered.

Two adult turkeys and two juveniles could be kept.

A resident could keep a maximum of 10 small livestock animals on a lot measuring up to 5,000 square feet.

Two additional animals could be kept for each additional 1,000 square feet of land area, up to a maximum of 20 animals.

The new standards also include a number of provisions regarding animal enclosures.

Also on tonight's agenda, the council will consider:

approving the use of a city building for an overnight homeless shelter one night per week in the winter; spending $35,000 for the University of Oregon's Community Service Center to do a downtown parking and multi-modal circulation study and; giving its support for the placement of a measure on the May 2014 ballot to fund a Jackson County 4-H, Master Gardeners and Agricultural Extension Service District.

Vickie Aldous is a reporter for the Ashland Daily Tidings.

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