Bees, Chickens, and Lawnmowers

At their August meeting, the Board of Aldermen approved several minor changes to city code involving residential permits, appeals of city decisions, and allowable hours for lawn mowers.

Chickens and Bees – Crestwood has allowed residents to keep chickens and bees for about 10 years. Chickens were originally restricted to allow no more than three per household, but over the years the limit was raised to nine if sufficient nesting boxes, coop size, and run area are provided. In total, approximately 67 chicken permits and 9 bee permits have been issued throughout the city.

Obtaining a permit involved a process whereby the city would send postcards to adjacent neighbors informing them of the application and asking for their approval. If any neighbor replied with a negative opinion, the permit was denied. The applicant could appeal the decision to the Public Works Board. Nine chicken permits and three bee permits were denied and appealed.

The appeal process was normally a 30-minute-long discussion at the Public Works Board meeting where the applicant stated their case, and the opposing neighbor would do the same (although many times that neighbor would not appear). In every case, the Public Works Board found that the applicant had satisfied all requirements and the neighbor was not able to provide a sound reason for denial of the permit.

As part of a broader appeals process modification ordinance, this chicken/bee appeal process was eliminated. No longer will the city mail post cards to neighbors and as long as the applicant satisfies all requirements, the application will be approved. That said, the city will continue with the initial inspection of the chicken/bee set-up and will continue with annual inspections to ensure ongoing compliance. If the chickens or bees are not kept properly and create a nuisance, neighbors can still notify the code enforcement officer, generating another site visit.

A chicken/bee permit cost is $20 per year and must be reapplied for each year.

Lawncare Hours – Crestwood has never had an official start or end time for outdoor lawn power tool use (mowers, blowers, chainsaws, etc.). This typically isn’t an issue and the city has not received many (or any) complaints from neighbors. However, with recent labor shortages commercial lawn care companies are forced to work longer days to get the work completed.

This has caused a few issues recently, so city staff proposed common-sense language that basically limits lawncare to daylight hours. The Board of Alderman debated and eventually approved an ordinance that limits the use of power tools or power equipment for lawn, tree, or vegetation care, or installation other than between 7:00 am and 30 minutes after sunset (which is when it gets dark).

Most neighbors aren’t cutting their grass after dark, and if even if they are it’s not a common occurrence – so the city feels that this language reflects normal activity and doesn’t expect many calls to the code enforcement officer.