The City Council recently passed Bill No. 7014 related to the keeping of livestock within the City. Full text of the Bill can be found below.
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTION 6-16 OF THE MUNICIPAL CODE PERTAINING TO THE REQUIREMENTS FOR KEEPING OF LIVESTOCK WITHIN THE CITY OF FERGUSON
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF FERGUSON, MISSOURI, AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. Section 6-16 of Chapter 6 of the Municipal Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
CHAPTER 6 ANIMAL CONTROL
Sec. 6-16. Livestock.
(a) Running at large prohibited.
(1) No person shall permit any livestock in their possession to run at large, in or upon the public streets, open lots or private properties of the city, other than that of the owner. The livestock must remain within a fenced area upon property owned or leased by the permittee.
(2) When any such animals are found running at large within the city, it shall be the duty of the animal control officer to restrain the same in a suitable place to be provided or procured under order of the city manager. Any animal or fowl impounded shall be kept at least three (3) days and the owner notified. If the owner fails to claim such animal, or if the owner cannot be found, the animal shall be turned over to the Humane Society of Missouri, or other such agency.
(b) Permit to keep livestock.
(1) No person shall operate or maintain any specified animal facility unless a permit has first been obtained from the Director. If a resident is keeping livestock without a permit, they are subject to prosecution for an ordinance violation and subject to the penalties set forth in this Code.
(2) Any person desiring to keep or maintain any livestock within any residential area of the city may do so only upon obtaining a permit for same from the city. All livestock permits shall be issued for a period not to exceed one (1) year and such permits shall be renewed annually by July 1 of each year. The annual permit fee shall be the same amount as the fee imposed by the City of Ferguson for a dog license; a fee shall be paid for each animal kept on the same property. Any permit may be suspended or revoked in accordance with the process outlined in this section revocable by the city if the keeping of any animal is found to endanger the health, safety or welfare of the public or the animals themselves, creates a nuisance or is in violation of state law or regulation or city ordinance. Each application for a livestock permit shall be signed by both the property owner and the tenant or occupant of the property where the livestock are proposed to be kept and shall contain a detailed site plan showing all improvements and facilities, including fences, for the keeping of livestock along with the distances between such improvements and property lines, adjacent facilities and other structures. All livestock and improvements, animal facilities, houses, buildings, pens and coops shall comply with the following requirements:
a. The facility shall be in good repair, capable of being maintained in a clean and in a sanitary condition, free of vermin, noxious smells and substances;
b. No person shall have more than six egg-laying fowl on a residential lot that is10,000 square feet or less. For lots larger than 10,000 square feet, one additional egg-laying fowl may be allowed for each additional 10,000 square feet. No roosters shall be allowed on any residential property.
c. The facility, or the conditions created by the facility, shall not create a nuisance or disturb neighboring residents due to noise, odor, damage or threats to the public health, safety and welfare.
d. Livestock must be kept in an enclosed fenced area which meets the setback requirements at all times; provided, however, that if a six-foot privacy fence is installed along the property’s boundaries and fully encloses the yard where livestock is kept, an additional enclosure within the setback requirements is not required. All fencing and enclosures shall reasonably prevent the specified animal from roaming at large or beyond the fenced area. No person shall keep any livestock within a dwelling. Fowl shall be secured within a permitted enclosure during non-daylight hours.
(i) All facilities for livestock, including but not limited to henhouses, pens, coops, feeding troughs and stations, nesting facilities and grazing areas, shall only be located in the rear yard. All facilities, including fencing, for fowl and rabbits shall be located on the applicant’s property and must be located at least ten (10) feet from the property line and at least thirty (30) feet from any adjacent residential dwelling, church, school or place of business. All facilities, including fencing, for other livestock shall be located on the applicant’s property and must be located at least fifty (50) feet from the property line. No livestock shall be allowed to roam, graze or be present within the setbacks described in this section.
(ii) Livestock enclosures shall be enclosed on all sides and shall have a roof and doors. Access doors must be able to be shut and locked at night. Rabbits and fowl enclosures that have opening windows and vents must be covered with predator and bird proof wire of less than one (1) inch openings.
(iii) The materials used in making a livestock enclosure shall be uniform for each element of the structure such that the walls are made of the same material, the roof has the same shingles or other covering, and any windows or openings are constructed using the same materials. The use of scrap, waste board, sheet metal, or similar materials is prohibited. The enclosure shall be well maintained.
(iv) All improvements and structures must comply with the City's building code, if applicable based on the size of the accessory structure, and must be consistent with the requirements of any applicable zoning code, condition of approval of a land use decision or other land use regulation. All improvements and structures shall be subject to applicable permitting and inspection requirements when first constructed or when structural alterations are made.
(3) Each permit issued by the Director shall be conditioned on the applicant maintaining all livestock, facilities and enclosures in compliance with all applicable law and regulation, including city ordinance, and compliance with any other permit conditions which the Director deems necessary to preserve the public health, safety and welfare and prevent nuisances, including limitations on the number of animals and additional requirements for the improvements and facilities.
(4) If an inspection reveals that any provision in this Chapter is violated, the Director shall mail written notice to the property owner at the owner's last known address of record or to the keeper or other responsible person, specifying the violation and requiring that the violation be corrected within 72 hours. If the violation is not corrected within the period specified, the permit shall be subject to suspension or revocation and the following procedure shall be followed:
a. The Director or his/her designee shall set a hearing to consider the question of suspension or revocation.
b. At least ten (10) days prior to such hearing, written notice shall be mailed to the permittee at his/her or its known address as shown in the records of the County or the City advising the permittee of the time and place of the hearing and of the reason for considering the suspension or revocation of the permit.
c. During the pendency of this hearing and until a decision is rendered by the hearing officer, the licensee shall be permitted to continue the keeping of existing livestock, provided however, that the pendency of such hearing shall not preclude prosecution for violation of the ordinances of the City occurring during such period.
d. At the hearing, the hearing officer, who shall be the Director or his/her designee, shall hear all relevant evidence justifying the suspension or revocation of the permit and shall grant the permittee to relay all relevant evidence justifying the retention of the permit.
e. The Director or his/her designee shall notify the permittee of the results of the hearing in writing within five (5) business days of the hearing. If the permit is suspended or revoked, the Director shall state in his/her Order the date by which all livestock and/or facilities and improvements shall be removed from the property which shall be, at minimum, ten (10) days from the date of the Order.
f. In the event that a permittee whose permit has been suspended or revoked pursuant to this Section, or a related entity of a permittee whose permit has been revoked pursuant to this Section, shall thereafter apply for a substantially similar permit, the licensing official may take into account the act(s) and circumstances which lead to the suspension or revocation in considering the new application.
g. Any person aggrieved by the determination of the hearing officer aforesaid may seek review of such decision by the City Manager. A written request for review must be submitted by the aggrieved party within five (5) days of the date of the determination for which review is sought. The written request for review shall, at minimum, set forth all reasons known to the applicant as to wherein and why the administrative determination is in error and the evidence which supports such assertions.
h. The filing of a request for review shall not stay the outcome of the administrative determination unless the City Manager shall suspend the effect of the determination upon request of the aggrieved party.
i. The City Manager may, at its option, review the determination on the basis of the City’s files and the record of the prior proceedings or may hold an additional hearing thereon. The City Manager shall reduce the results of his review to writing and give notice thereof to all parties.
j. Any person aggrieved by the decision of the City Manager may seek further review to the City Council by filing a written request within five (5) days of the City Manager's decision. The written request shall, at minimum, set forth all reasons known to the applicant as to wherein and why the administrative determination is in error and the evidence which supports such assertions.
k. Any person aggrieved by the decision of the City Council may seek judicial review by filing a petition for same with the Circuit Court of St. Louis County within fifteen (15) days of the date of the Council’s decision.
(5) Following suspension or revocation of a permit, before operation of the facility resumes or any livestock is located or placed upon the property, submission of a new application for a specified animal facility permit accompanied by payment of the permit fees shall be required, and the facility shall not be allowed to operate and livestock shall not be allowed to be kept on the property until an appropriate permit is approved and issued.
a. Where there are practical difficulties or unnecessary hardship in carrying out the strict letter of the provisions of this chapter, the City Council may vary or modify the application of specific area regulations for any physical improvement, facility or structure so that the spirit of the Municipal Code shall be observed, public safety and welfare secured, and substantial justice done.
b. There shall be no variance allowed regarding the number of animals that may be kept on residential property.
c. No application for variance may be submitted to the City Council unless it contains the signature of the property owner and tenant or other occupant of the property where the livestock are to be kept and the signature of the owners of all properties which are directly adjacent to the applicant's property. Each application for variance shall contain a detailed site plan showing the proposed improvements, facilities or improvements, shall be on an application form approved by the City and shall be accompanied by the appropriate application fee
d. Upon receipt of a fully-completed application, the City Council shall set a date for a public hearing with notice being published at least fifteen (15) days prior to the public hearing.
e. A variance from the specific area regulations for physical improvements, facilities or structures set forth in this section may be granted where it is found that, due to a condition relating to the shape, topography or other unique physical condition of the lot which is not prevalent in the neighborhood, the applicant would be subject to practical difficulties or unnecessary hardship. The loss of possible advantage, financial considerations or mere inconvenience to the applicant shall not be considered as practical difficulties or unnecessary hardship.
Section 2. This Ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after the date of its passage by the City Council.