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 Rights violations: Longtime chicken keeper taken aback after Clayton hatches new ordinance

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Rights violations: Longtime chicken keeper taken aback after Clayton hatches new ordinance Vide
PostSubject: Rights violations: Longtime chicken keeper taken aback after Clayton hatches new ordinance   Rights violations: Longtime chicken keeper taken aback after Clayton hatches new ordinance Icon_minitimeSun May 18, 2014 9:46 pm

Joy Stinger had a long-standing agreement with the city of Clayton about the chickens she’s raised in the garage outside her Westmoreland Avenue home the past 27 years.

Rights violations: Longtime chicken keeper taken aback after Clayton hatches new ordinance 5378299b0a2a4.preview-300

“They told me I could have chickens, horses, cows, even an elephant – just so long as it didn’t annoy the neighbors,” she says.

Countless neighbors have come and gone since a Clayton official delivered that edict to Stinger nearly three decades ago.

None, as best Stinger can recall, has ever complained.

Which made the late April notice asking that she hand over a $50 fee and fulfill the city’s new requirements in order to “possess domestic fowl” all the more perplexing

Stinger, it turned out, had unknowingly been swept up in a trend.

Once, Stinger was likely the only Clayton resident able to harvest fresh eggs just a few steps from her home.

No longer.

Now, chickens have cropped up in back yards in Clayton and throughout the region, state and nation.

Clayton joined other municipalities by responding in kind over the winter by enacting regulations intended to prevent chicken owners from ruffling adjacent homeowners.

“Mrs. Stinger for years has successfully raised chickens in harmony with her neighbors,” explained Clayton City Manager Craig Owens. “But now we have new people deciding they want to keep chickens who haven’t necessarily figured out the things she has managed to do over the last 27 years.”

The ordinance stipulates that chicken keepers provide the city with coop dimensions, the number of fowl housed and other details.

“This just tightens up the regulations to make sure the pens meet zoning requirements and are properly constructed, just like sheds and other outdoor facilities,” said Owens.

A proud Claytonian, Stinger, 79, did just as the city asked. A few days later the paperwork was returned to her along with the $50 filing fee and an admonishment for failing to fully comply with the details requested on the application.

“My coop has been there 27 years and now they want a scale drawing?” asked Stinger.

The city had rejected the application of a Clayton institution.

The chickens, in fact, barely scratch at what occurs on a standard-size city lot that includes a gazebo filled with exotic birds, honey bee hives and a swimming pool turned into a koi pond.

All manner of fruits and vegetables grow in Stinger’s garden alongside the hops she raises for a homemade beer recipe. Last week, she hosted a T’ai Chi class in her yard.

Inside the house she shares with longtime partner Alan Sherman, Stinger jars the honey, fashions candles from rare European molds and assembles quilts – the wares she sells along with eggs at area farmers markets.

“I very rarely sit, I’m always doing something,” she said.

Now it appears Clayton and Stinger have made their peace. Stinger recently resubmitted the application.

In lieu of detailed drawings, she attached photographs of the coop along with a plot plan.

The city, she reports, accepted the paperwork without a peep.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/longtime-chicken-keeper-taken-aback-after-clayton-hatches-new-ordinance/article_fcd6e4c4-846b-5d61-ac50-ec6ccc06c299.html
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