City of Bishop Chicken and Rabbit Urban Farming, Measure C (November 2010)
Measure C allowed owner/residents of single-family residential lots in Bishop to keep up to four chickens and/or rabbits, for non-commercial purposes, under the following conditions:
- No more than 4 chickens, which can only be hens. No roosters allowed.
- No more than 4 rabbits.
- No more than 4 combined hens and rabbits.
- Chickens and rabbits must be kept at least twenty feet away from any neighboring residential property line, unless revocable written consent is obtained.
- Chickens and rabbits must not be visible from the public streets and rights-of-way.
- All chickens and rabbits must be kept in coops or hutches, and all food for the chickens and rabbits must be kept in containers that are "reasonably predator and rodent proof."
- These final, certified, election results are from the Inyo County elections office.
Measure C was supported by Robert Klieforth, Cynthia A. Gervasoni, Peter J. Watercott and Cheryl Underhill. They signed the official ballot arguments in favor of Measure C.
Arguments in favor
- "Citizens wishing to keep hobby flocks of hens believe strongly in sensible rights to grow their own food. Measure C is consistent with the premises of a grassroots movement across the U.S. of people interested in simply gaining a measure of control over their lives and teaching their families about where food really comes from. Measure C allows the residents of the city to feed their families safe and healthy food from their own efforts and yards, and gives children more opportunities to learn responsibilities associated with family well-being.
- "We want to encourage the precepts of agricultural programs for youth in emphasizing local food production, to empower families who feel strongly that gardening and home-based food production are a necessary part of their good health and welfare, and to peacefully co-exist with our neighbors.
- "Backyard hens are a key link in creating a sustainable urban system to provide non-chemical pest control and very small amounts of recyclable waste to fertilize garden produce. Hens consume table scraps and other organic household waste that is not appropriate for composting, reducing the amount of smelly, rotting material waiting in sun-baked plastic bins for the weekly garbage pickup. Many other cities have enacted similar ordinances in recent years with very few problems arising, and have noted that such laws promote good neighbor relations by limiting the number of hens, banning roosters, requiring that the hens be confined, and regulating coop design.
- Kathryn A. Henderson
Kathryn A. Henderson, a former member of the Bishop City Council, signed the ballot argument opposing Measure C. She said:
- "Bishop is located in a rural area, but many residential lots are only 50 feet wide. The ordinance would allow for residences on 3 sides of your property to have chickens or rabbits. Residences are located in such a close proximity that this could present health and safety issues. Excessive dust and odor may compromise a neighbor’s health.
- Predators such as snakes, raccoons and skunks are attracted to the afore-mentioned animals and their presence would increase within our city. If challenged these predators can be aggressive towards children and domestic pets. Rodents, flies and other insects that carry diseases would also be attracted to the coops and water trays.
- Enforcement of this ordinance causes additional costs to the City. The City would have to divert existing resources to ensure chickens or rabbits are maintained within the law. If neighbors file a complaint to the City, these complaints must be investigated and enforced.
- "This ordinance does not address disposal of diseased or dead chickens or rabbits. This ordinance does not address the disposal of the predators attracted to the afore-mentioned animals."