With an Urban Agriculture permit, people can raise chickens and keep bees on single-family residence property in residential areas in Christiansburg.
Currently, there are 21 Urban Agricultural permits on file with the town: three are bee stand permits, 17 chicken permits, and one permit for both bees and chickens, giving the town 86 chickens and seven bee stands.
Part of a larger renaissance of urban agriculture across the country, Christiansburg is encouraging people to participate in the two-year-old program.
“While you’re putting in a garden this spring, think about chickens and bees,” Christiansburg’s Planning Director Andrew Warren said in a phone interview.
Urban Agriculture zoning was launched in 2016 and nine permits were taken out, 11 were taken out in 2017, and one new permit has been applied for this year so far and the town is expecting a second, Warren said.
Budding urban farmers newly applying for an Urban Agriculture zoning permit need to draw a sketch showing their property and the pen, coop, and/or bee stands and describe their plans for predator protection and how they’ll manage feed, bedding, and waste disposal.
Chickens need two square feet per hen in an enclosed coop and at least eight square feet per hen in a pen according to the permit, and pens must be at least 15 feet from property lines and 50 feet from a neighbor’s house it says.
The 25$ annual permit provides residents the ability to have a limited agricultural use of up to six hens in a residential area according to Warren.
“It’s recognized that many agricultural operations would not be compatible in a typical single-family neighborhood. This permit allows residents to raise chickens meeting the agreed-upon standards,” he said.
Although people could start raising chickens in Feb. 2016, it’s unclear when in Christiansburg’s history rules changed to ask people to stop keeping chickens because of smell, health or noise, current standards address those messy aspects of production by forbidding roosters and slaughter, requiring eggs only for home use, requiring a good explanation of manure management, and protection of animal and human health.
For more information and the permit to complete to raise chickens and bees, visit http://www.christiansburg.org/DocumentCenter/View/5457