County to allow beekeeping, backyard chickens

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The Arapahoe Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved new regulations to allow backyard bee and chicken keeping in unincorporated residential areas, according to a news release from the county.

The new rules will become effective April 30 and are a result of a two-year, community-driven process to balance the needs and concerns of residents, the county news release said.

No special licenses are required for backyard chickens or beekeeping, the release said, and residents may need a building permit for certain improvements. Arapahoe County's CSU Extension Program offers a variety of free resources for individuals seeking to start backyard operations.

Under the new regulations, residents on lot sizes of 1-acre or less can have two to eight beehive boxes, provided owners adhere to design and setback standards, the release said. Single-family residential units also can have up to four hens in coops that meet design and setback standards. Owners must keep chickens in coops overnight, keep them on their property at all times, and control dust, debris and noise, the release said.

Homeowner associations have the ability to implement more restrictive policies than the county. Some municipalities already allow bees and chickens as well, the release said.

Residents can confirm whether they live in unicorporated Arapahoe County by checking ArapaMap. The County's Zoning and Animal Services Division is responsible for ensuring code compliance and pursuing enforcement in response to complaints. Residents can call 720-874-6711 or submit request online.

Residents can review specific regulations and additional resources online at www.arapahoegov.com/beeschickens.

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