4800 West 92nd Avenue Westminster, CO 80031

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Chickens and Bees

The keeping of bees and chickens on single-family residential lots in the city is permissible.

Most single-family residential properties are allowed to have up to two beehives and six chickens with an approved permit from the city, subject to the regulations and limitations contained in the ordinance. View the ordinance.

Homeowners associations (HOAs) may still restrict or prohibit the keeping of bees and/or chickens through their covenants. Therefore, families located in covenant-controlled communities may not be allowed to participate.

Read the Backyard Livestock Guide for details on the requirements.

Apply for a Permit

Permits may be obtained by applying by mail.

Applications for chicken and bee keeping, and/or pot-bellied pig ownership will only be accepted by mail.

Upon staff review and approval of the application, it will be mailed back to the applicant within five business days, with a permit number and issue date.

Ownership of chickens, bees or pot-bellied pigs is unlawful without an approved permit.

Applications must be complete to include initials and signature where indicated. 

A site plan is required within the permit application. View a sample of a site plan.

Incomplete applications will be sent back to the applicant.

Download Application - (print and mail)
Check or Money Order must accompany the application. There is a one-time $25 fee. (Make checks out to: The City of Westminster)

Mail applications to:
Westminster Police Department
Attn: Animal Management (Permit)
9110 Yates Street
Westminster, CO  80031

Background

For the past several years, cities around the country have been adopting ordinances permitting the keeping of urban chickens at the urging of residents who cite local healthy food production, humane treatment of animals, a lower cost food source, sustainability and personal enrichment as a few of the many benefits of raising chickens on their properties. In addition, a number of communities have incorporated standards for beekeeping into their local health, animal control or land development codes. The sanctioning of beekeeping is often desired by residents for the purposes of honey production for consumption, along with the perceived benefit of pollination services and ensuring an extant bee population.

Concerns regarding raising chickens in an urban area generally encapsulate three particulars: odor, noise and disease. The major objections to beekeeping are the fear of being stung and the increased potential of the nuisance relating to bee swarms. Also, both beekeeping and chicken husbandry may increase the likelihood of elevated predator and nuisance animal activity in the area, which, in turn, may lead to an increase in zoonotic diseases in pets and other animals in the region.

View information provided by city staff to City Council on April 6, 2015 regarding chickens and bees on residential properties

 

Research on Chickens and Bees

The City Council recognized an ongoing public interest in bee and chicken “Urban Agriculture,” and directed Planning Division staff to research the keeping of bees and chickens on residential lots within the city. This initial research was considered at a Study Session in August 2014. At that time, the City Council directed staff to continue researching the topic, and to bring forth recommendations for possible changes to the Westminster Municipal Code, that would allow for keeping bees and/or chickens on residential properties.

Compiled List of Local Municipalities Research on Chickens and Bees

Backyard Chicken Research

Complaints Low One Year After Lakewood Expands Urban Ag, Denver Post, July 17, 2014

Small Animals – Hens (Brochure from the City of Lakewood, Colorado) 

Animal Husbandry (Brochure from the City of Redmond, Washington)

Feeding the Locavores, One Chicken at a Time: Regulating Backyard Chickens. Patricia Salkin, Zoning and Law Report, Vol. 34, No. 3, March 2011

Residential Urban Chicken Keeping: An Examination of 25 Cities. KT LaBadie, CRP 580 Spring 2008, University of New Mexico, May 7, 2008

Welcoming Animals Back to the City: Navigating the Tensions of Urban Livestock through Municipal Ordinances. William H. Butler, Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development, Feb. 8, 2012

PAS Inquiry Response – Denver Area Urban Chicken and Beekeeping (email).  Ann Dillemuth, American Planning Association, May 1, 2014

Urban Micro-Livestock Ordinances: Regulating Backyard Animal Husbandry. Jaime Bovier, Zoning Practice, American Planning Association, Issue No. 4, April 2013

Beekeeping Research

Beekeeping in Denver Urban Gardens Community Gardens. Denver Urban Gardens.

Complaints Low One Year After Lakewood Expands Urban Ag, Denver Post, July 17, 2014

Pittsburg Community Apiary. Stephen Repasky, Bee Culture, May 2012

Apiaries (Brochure from the City of Lakewood, Colorado) 

Model Beekeeping Ordinance for Florida Local and Municipal Governments. Author/Source Unknown

Honey, It’s All the Buzz: Regulating Neighborhood Beehives. Patricia E. Salkin, Environmental Affairs Vol. 39:55

Welcoming Animals Back to the City: Navigating the Tensions of Urban Livestock through Municipal Ordinances. William H. Butler, Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development, Feb. 8, 2012

PAS Inquiry Response – Denver Area Urban Chicken and Beekeeping (email). Ann Dillemuth, American Planning Association, May 1, 2014

Urban Micro-Livestock Ordinances: Regulating Backyard Animal Husbandry. Jaime Bovier, Zoning Practice, American Planning Association, Issue No. 4, April 2013

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