Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Action Alert: Don't Negotiate Away the Proposed Ordinance!

(If you want to jump to the sample email, look for the yellow Action Alert further down the page.)

The proposed Food Producing Animals (FPA) ordinance is at a critical place. It is important to show our support in order to hold on to the improvements that we've been working on for the last 2 years. The ordinance is now sitting in City Council's Land Use, Infrastructure, and Transportation (LUTI) committee. LUTI is charged with evaluating the ordinance, modifying it if necessary, and then passing it along to the full City Council for a vote.

The bad news is that there are a couple of neighborhood activists that have been strongly lobbying for significant changes to the proposed ordinance. Those of us who have been advocating for this issue for a long time understand that compromise is part of the process. However, if these neighborhood activists are successful in getting their way, it would effectively gut much of the progress in the ordinance, and continue to make it unnecessarily difficult for urban residents to raise small numbers of backyard chickens, ducks, and dwarf goats.

It is critical that we take a stand for the ordinance as it is currently written. If we don't stand for the current ordinance, it will be easier for those that oppose it to continue to drag the various provisions backward. A significant amount of thought and care went into crafting the proposed ordinance, and its guidelines are well in line with successful FPA ordinances in other cities.

One more piece of important information before we move into the Action Alert... The two aforementioned neighborhood activists took their case to INC this weekend. INC is the Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation. The idea behind INC is that each Registered Neighborhood Organization (RNO) will send a representative to serve at INC. However, though there are over 200 RNOs in the city, only 20 or so were represented at Saturday's INC meeting.

The INC folks are generally long-time neighborhood activists. They're often retired (or of retirement age) and fit within a certain demographic. As you can imagine, the demands to significantly alter the proposed Food Producing Animals ordinance were generally embraced by the people at INC. While they are certainly entitled to their individual opinions, the unfortunate fact is that INC often tries to present itself as the "voice of the neighborhoods." You live in a Denver neighborhood, as do I. INC doesn't speak for us, and it's important that we remind our City Councilmembers of this fact.

Action Alert

The ways in which the neighborhood activists want to alter the proposed ordinance can be found in the sample email below. Please feel free to use the sample email in its entirety, cut and paste what you'd like, or create something of your own from scratch. My only request is that you keep the subject line intact -- we'd like to send a unified message to the members of the LUTI committee who will be deciding whether to drastically alter the proposed ordinance.

Please send your email to the following members of City Council. You can do one email that cc's all of them. It's also ok that some of these people aren't your designated representative -- they sit on the LUTI committee, so they're working on behalf of all of Denver right now.

paula.sandoval@denvergov.org
peggy.lehmann@denvergov.org
marcia.johnson@denvergov.org
chris.nevitt@denvergov.org
carla.madison@denvergov.org
judy.montero@denvergov.org
jeanne.robb@denvergov.org

and cc: sustainablefooddenver@gmail.com

Subject: Don't change the proposed ordinance -- INC doesn't speak for me!
---
Dear Members of the LUTI committee:

I am a resident of Denver, living in the ______ neighborhood. I wanted to let you know that I support the proposed Food Producing Animals (FPA) ordinance as it is currently written. I believe that the proposed ordinance strikes a fair balance between supporting the rights of individual property owners and protecting neighbors from adverse impacts. In addition, the current guidelines within the proposed ordinance fall well within the range of what is occurring in other cities with successful FPA ordinances.

I understand that INC may be issuing a position statement asking for various parts of the ordinance to be changed. INC does not speak for me, nor do they speak for a number of my Denver friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers.

I would like the following provisions in the proposed FPA ordinance to remain intact:

No needless RNO/neighbor notification -- Some RNOs have expressed concern that public notification will not occur for a limited number of FPAs under the proposed ordinance. Standards for public notification should be based on impact. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that 8 female fowl and 2 dwarf goats would cause significant impact to a neighborhood. Many people in Denver are currently raising these animals, and state that their neighbors have absolutely no idea that the animals exist. We do not require public notice/input for up to 3 dogs (even if these dogs weigh 150 pounds each and have the potential to bark and bite). It is patently unfair and illogical to require public notice for 8 female fowl and 2 dwarf goats, when there is no evidence of negative impact on neighborhoods. Seattle, Portland, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles  allow the keeping of a specified number and/or type of FPAs without public notification. Seattle used to allow up to 3 chickens and 3 dwarf goats without a permit. They experienced so few problems that in 2010 they upped their allowed numbers to 8 chickens and 3 dwarf goats.

No annual permitting fee -- Other cities that have adopted FPA ordinances have not reported an increased burden to city agencies because of enforcement. There is no logical reason for requiring ongoing annual permitting fees for animal that don't require vaccinations for public health reasons (like dogs and cats do). Many people who wish to raise backyard FPAs are doing so because they want access to healthy, affordable food. While chickens and goats do pay for themselves, there are some costs associated with their care. Adding unjustified annual fees to that amount would unduly burden Denver residents, especially low-income families who stand to benefit the most from access to affordable food. Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Colorado Springs all allow a specified number and/or type of FPAs with no permit and no fees.

10 foot separation between FPA structure and a neighbor's dwelling unit -- The proposed 10 foot separation (coupled with noise, odor, and nuisance regulations) is adequate to balance potential impacts on neighbors with the ability of Denver residents to enjoy reasonable use of their property. The suggested 25 foot separation would effectively "zone out" many Denver residents from the ability to keep FPAs. There are people in Denver who are currently keeping FPAs with a shelter 10 feet from their neighbor's dwelling, and they haven't experienced any problems. Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles do not have any shelter distance requirements for the keeping of FPAs. Seattle successfully requires just a 10 foot separation from a neighbor's dwelling.

Permeable space requirement -- Respected chicken keeping books cite a minimum space requirement of 4 square feet per bird. Denver's proposed ordinance asks for 10 square feet per bird, which is 2.5 times what is listed in some books and 20 times the amount of space that factory farm chickens have access to. Urban backyard chicken keepers acknowledge 10 square feet of space as a respectable standard -- this would equal a minimum of 80 total square feet of wandering room for anyone who kept 8 hens. While many chicken owners may opt to voluntarily provide their birds with more than the required minimum, I believe that the suggestion of mandating 16 square feet of space per bird is unnecessary and is not supported by successful FPA ordinances in other cities. Seattle, Portland, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Fort Collins do not include any permeable space requirements in their ordinances.

Shelter space requirement -- The shelter space requirement in the proposed ordinance is addressing the predator-proof, nighttime enclosure for chickens. Because chickens go blind and don't move at night, a relatively small space (1 square foot per bird) is adequate for containing them. Chicken owners generally provide their birds with some form of shelter/shade/structure to daytime shelter when it's needed (which isn't very often with Colorado's low precipitation rates), but whatever daytime shelter is provided doesn't need to meet the construction standards of the predator-proof, nighttime enclosure. Asking that an excessively large (4 square feet per bird) nighttime enclosure be required would not only present an unnecessary cost burden to the chicken owner, but also leaves the chickens at greater risk of frostbite during winter nights. Seattle, Portland, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles do not include any space minimums for chicken shelters in their FPA ordinances.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my request. I look forward to seeing the LUTI committee vote on April 5th to move the proposed ordinance, in its current form, through to City Council.

Sincerely,
(your name)

11 comments:

garbanzito said...

after reading about this i started to wonder about the space requirements; in creating the current draft, other cities were consulted, but what other research was done? can you show that the terms in the ordinance are founded in good animal-welfare practices?


to get some background i looked for standards ... i learned that 4 square meters (about 43 square feet) of open space per animal is the standard promoted by the American Humane Society for hens primarily managed outside; and in the European Union 4 square meters is the law; what is different about chickens raised by "amateurs" that they need only one tenth that amount of space?


regarding INC, the correct name is "Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation"; it appears you attended an INC Zoning and Planning (ZAP) Committee meeting, which is not the "whole body", and does not have a representative from every member RNO; does every resident of your neighborhood attend your RNO's meetings? perhaps you get my point ...

i know people who are on the ZAP committee and who are not retired; to me, "demographics" is a vague way of stereotyping people's values; our INC representatives (assuming your RNO is a member of INC) are generally very well-informed and experienced in community affairs; they work hard to consider things from a broad perspective, since as an RNO itself, INC represents all Denver residents

in my experience INC is less fickle than many individual RNOs, so your characterization of them as easily-swayed is surprising; when i got to the "as you can imagine" part of your rhetoric, i really could not imagine it ...


that's not to say i'd always agree with INC, but this is the kind of feedback that you could have dealt with so much better if the original draft were written with a real public process; this is making me think it would be better if this ordinance were on the November ballot so there could be a real debate about it

Sundari Kraft said...

@Garbanzito/Steve -- thanks for your comments. You bring up a variety of points, and I'll do my best to address them all.

First of all, I am not intending to create a vendetta against INC. As someone who does her best to stay involved in her community, I can appreciate the work that is done by people who volunteer with their neighborhood organizations.

I realize that not everyone who serves on INC or INC ZAP is retired. I did see one person who appeared to be in their 30s at Saturday's meeting, and there were two additional people who may have been younger than 50. Also, not everyone at the meeting was in agreement. There was one person there representing Curtis Park who had some very good things to say about the lack of RNO notification in the proposed ordinance. Also, the motion to change various animal care requirements had a handful of "no" votes.

However, I do not think it is an overstatement to characterize the members of INC as generally being more conservative than the general Denver population. This doesn't mean that they're bad people, of course. I do think it means that they represent a certain segment of the population. This is not a problem in and of itself. What does become problematic (in my eyes) is when INC -- or INC members -- purport to speak for large quantities of the population. There was one attendee at Saturday's meeting who specifically stated that he believed that his statements were not just representing his opinions or the opinions of one or two other people; he felt that he was accurately representing all 2,000 people (his number, not mine) that live in his neighborhood.

The members of INC may indeed be well-informed (generally speaking) and experienced in community affairs. I am not in a position to speak to how they have addressed any issue other than FPAs. When it comes to FPAs, I do not feel that the matter was given a fair hearing. It wasn't for lack of trying on the part of myself or city staff. We attended 3 INC meetings (I believe the first was general INC and the following two were INC ZAP -- I wasn't given an agenda). We would have been happy to speak at length and answer questions all day. However, we were given 5 minutes at the first meeting and 15 minutes at the second.

At the third meeting (this past Saturday) I sat for 90 minutes and listened to the INC members discuss public notice for liquor licenses. The subsequent FPA discussion received maybe 20 minutes. There was one neighborhood member who had prepared 3 pages of handout materials which she distributed. There were numerous misstatements and factual errors in her handouts, but I was not given an opportunity to address those. (In the days following the INC meeting, that particular neighborhood member realized that she was in fact misstating some of what she put on those handouts -- mistakenly attributing qualities to an FPA ordinance in another city that were incorrect. The neighborhood member stated her mistake to me via email, but I don't think she's corrected the misstatements to INC. In addition, there are a number of other errors on her handouts which have not been addressed.)

At any rate, there was very little time for substantive discussion and absolutely no opportunity for a point-by-point discussion of the claims made by the people opposing the ordinance. I do understand that INC's time is tight, but I cannot agree that the issue received adequate discussion.

It was not made clear to me at the meeting what result of the vote would be. It may be that the motions carried would become INC's "official" position, or it may be that the motions will now go before the INC board for another vote. Regardless, it is fair to say that INC could not reasonably state that it represents the will of our city's neighborhoods, with 200+ RNOs.

Sundari Kraft said...

(continued)

This ordinance was written for City Council; it should not be confused with the proposed ballot initiative that may yet appear on the November ballot. The proposed ballot initiative, incidentally, allows 6 chickens with just one limitation -- no roosters. The ballot initiative has no controls regarding lot placement, distance from abutting dwellings, permeable space, fencing, or shelter size.

Regarding your concerns about public process -- we have in fact had a public process now for several months. The draft language was not finalized until early March; prior to that things were in outline form. We are doing exactly what is proper for a text amendment of this kind.

In fact, when this issue went before Planning Board on March 16th there was a plea from a neighborhood member (the same one who distributed handouts at INC) for the Planning Board to delay its decision for 30 days because of a "lack of adequate time and proper public process." The Planning Board addressed this particular concern before they would even talk about the merits of the proposed FPA ordinance. The Planning Board chair grilled staff from CPD about this issue; CPD staff outlined the legal requirements for drafting a text amendment and presenting it to the public. In fact, CPD went above and beyond what was legally required in terms of public outreach and notification. Advocacy groups (in particular, Sustainable Food Denver) went well above and beyond, with 4 separate email blasts to RNOs over a 6 week period, follow-up phone calls, 2 open house events, and a public forum.

Planning Board determined that the city did in fact follow the legal requirements for presenting a text amendment, and then went on to debate the merits of the proposed ordinance. Planning Board voted unanimously to move the ordinance through to City Council.

Regarding your concerns about space requirements for chickens... There is considerable backing -- within successful urban chicken ordinances in other cities, within Denver residents' own hands-on experiences raising healthy backyard birds, and within plain common sense and logic, to support everything that is in the proposed ordinance. I very much appreciate the work of the Humane Society, but they are not the only voice or opinion on the best way to efficiently and ethically raise chickens in the city. And incidentally, we don't legislate the Humane Society's recommendations for dogs, cats, fish, rabbits, birds, or horses -- so why on earth should we *legislate* their views for FPAs? Denver's laws regarding all of the abovementioned animals have absolutely zero requirements in terms of setback, permeable space, shelter, or anything else. There are "best practices," to be sure, but we don't see fit to write them into law. Why should limited numbers of chickens, ducks, and dwarf goats be held to a drastically different standard, when their impacts are equal to and (arguably) less than that of a dog next door?

Sundari Kraft said...

(continued)

Evaluating care recommendations, and overall animal welfare ---
Some people cite a chicken rescue operation in Minnesota, or the American Humane Society, as a source of information on backyard chicken care. While we certainly applaud the work of anyone who is involved in animal welfare, it is important to draw a distinction between what is necessary (and legislate-able) for healthy animal care, and what is optional. Anyone who owns a cat or a dog knows that there is a big difference between what you as an animal owner provide to properly care for your animal, and what a particular animal rights organization may dictate to you as to what "must" be done.

A good parallel would be to look at the feeding of dogs. Many responsible animal owners choose to feed their dogs some variety of commercially available pet food from a store. However, some animal rights activists state that dogs must be fed a specially formulated, homemade feed created from whole foods (like chicken, grains, and vegetables) that the pet owner cooks up twice daily for the dog -- supplemented with costly vitamin and mineral powders, of course.

Dog owners certainly have the option of cooking fresh food for their dogs twice daily if they'd like. However, it is unreasonable to suggest that this step is required in order to raise a healthy dog. It would be ludicrous to legislate something like this and require it for all dog owners. And, while the chicken rescue people in Minnesota may wish for all chickens to receive care that meets their specific standards, they are not an accurate barometer for reasonable, responsible care for a backyard flock.

Denver's animal code contains provisions protecting animals from cruelty, abuse, and neglect. Regardless of the specific standards within the ordinance, if an Animal Control officer finds that chickens (or any other animals) are not being adequately cared for, then Animal Control has the authority to address that situation. Also, it's important to remember that the guidelines within the current ordinance VASTLY exceed care requirements that any commercial chicken farmer -- large or small -- has to follow. Though Denver residents may try to purchase ethically raised eggs from "free range" sources, that term is not regulated and consumers really have no way of knowing what really happens on farms. Backyard chickens, to a very large extent, will lead significantly happier lives than their commercial counterparts. Anyone who is concerned about animal welfare should applaud the fact that the proposed ordinance gives Denver families a way to "opt out" of commercial chicken operations, therefore reducing the total amount of chicken suffering in the world.

Sundari Kraft said...

(continued)

Permeable space requirements for chickens ---

"Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens" is perhaps the most used and most well-respected text on backyard chicken keeping. This book recommends a minimum of 4 square feet of "open" (i.e. permeable) space for the largest chickens, which are classified as "heavy" birds. The proposed ordinance requires a minimum of 2.5 times that amount -- 10 square feet of permeable space per bird, which is a well-accepted amount of space among urban chicken owners. For perspective, remember that commercial chicken operations (where the vast majority of peoples' eggs come from currently) keep their birds -- 24 hours a day -- with less that 1/2 square foot per bird.

This issue was thoroughly researched before drafting the proposed ordinance, and the Director of Animal Care & Control was present for all of the discussions. It is worth noting that Seattle, Portland, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Fort Collins (to name a few) do not include any permeable space requirements in their successful chicken ordinances. Longmont requires a total of 4 square feet of space per bird (includes both the coop and the run/permeable space). Littleton requires at least 10 square feet of permeable space per bird.

Sundari Kraft said...

(continued)


Shelter space --

The proposed ordinance requires that chickens be kept in a predator-proof enclosure at night. Chickens go blind at night. They do not move or make any noise. Because chickens don't move at night, a relatively small space is adequate to house them. In fact, small nighttime enclosures can actually be beneficial to chickens during winter months, because small spaces better contain the chickens' body heat and any supplemental heat that the chicken owner provides.

The proposed ordinance specifies a secure, predator-proof enclosure with a minimum of 1 square foot per bird. This is enough space for chickens to walk around each other, and is more than adequate for nighttime sleeping. We need to recognize that the standard of a predator-proof enclosure is much higher than whatever kind of daytime shelter a chicken owner may choose to provide to give chickens an opportunity to get out of the rain/snow during the day. The costs of constructing a predator-proof enclosure for nighttime sleeping are higher than what is involved in providing a shed or a large doghouse for daytime shelter. Therefore, it is excessive to ask that the predator-proof, nighttime shelter meet some kind of daytime space requirements. A chicken owner may choose to construct a large, secure coop that serves as both the nighttime and daytime shelters. However, there are a lot of ways to successfully raise chickens, and if a chicken owner wishes to utilize the predator-proof enclosure only for nighttime sleeping, and provide other open space/shade/shelter accommodations for the chickens during the day, that should also be acceptable. There are many people successfully raising chickens in Denver using that method of care.

This issue was thoroughly researched before drafting the proposed ordinance, and the Director of Animal Care & Control was present for all of the discussions. It is worth noting that many cities with successful chicken ordinances -- like Seattle, Portland, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles -- do not have any space minimums for chicken shelters.

(And more on the same topic)
Regarding the 1 square foot/bird for the nighttime predator-proof enclosure: That number is based on my own first-hand experience raising healthy chickens, as well as the experience of other urban chicken owners that I am acquainted with. I believe that the basis for much of the disagreement on this issue stems from a confusion between a predator-proof, nighttime enclosure and whatever kind of daytime shelter/shade/structure (which doesn't necessarily have to be predator-proof) that a chicken owner may choose to provide. There are significant differences (particularly in construction costs) between these two types of chicken shelters, and they serve different purposes. Requiring 4 square feet of space for a predator-proof, nighttime enclosure is overkill (and puts the chickens at a higher risk of frostbite). One square foot per bird is plenty adequate for nighttime space, which is when it is critical that the shelter be predator-proof. This is not necessarily the same thing as the daytime shelter/shade/structure that chickens may use occasionally to get out of the sun, rain, or snow. Chickens generally enjoy being outside and my birds hardly ever use the daytime shelter (even during winter) but there are occasional times when they'll use it.

garbanzito said...

* up until your attack on INC, i was inclined to support the ordinance, but now i'm having second thoughts

* your article is not a vendetta, but it's clearly an attack; in addition to stereotyping INC's volunteers, you are encouraging people to write letters saying "INC doesn't speak for me!", which goes to the core of the RNO system -- the same system you have otherwise been trying to use to your advantage; plus you are not even sure what INC's final position might be; this seems very cynical: embrace RNOs when convenient, reject them when they are not; how many residents of La Alma/Lincoln Park or Stapleton do you think are even aware that their RNOs have supported the FPA ordinance?

* any committee of people who volunteer their time is going to struggle to reflect the interests of all whom they represent; besides INC ZAP i would say the committee that drafted this ordinance is in exactly the same category

* i am not confusing this ordinance with the ballot initiative; i'm suggesting that since you seem so unreconcilable with INC, taking this elaborate FPA ordinance to the ballot instead of CIty Council would be one way to give it more time and more scrutiny; meeting the technical legal requirements for public process is not the same as making sure the public is truly well-informed and on-board with a proposal

* as to INC being "conservative"; overall INC is quite liberal, and it's actually a progressive idea to expand the outdoor area available to hens, as shown by the fact that the EU and the Humane Society endorse even more area; in contrast on this particular issue you advocate what is "well-accepted" -- the definition of pure conservatism

* regarding permeable space and welfare -- my point is more on the principle of it: if you propose requirements, you need to have a really solid justification -- "other cities do it" and "well-accepted" are mumbo jumbo designed to make things politically palatable; otherwise it's starting to look like regulation for regulation's sake, and i would rather not have these rules at all -- even you seem to believe there are already adequate protections in place for animal welfare

* i mentioned the European Union's rules (by definition "legislatable") and the Humane Society's audited certification program because they are clear and verifiable from product labels; these directly contradict your statement "consumers really have no way of knowing what really happens on farms"; my sense of it is if you're going to regulate at all, regulate well, and these are some standards to aspire to

* i understand your point about the amount of enclosed space -- i didn't raise any specific concerns about it; on this, and the setback requirements i do not agree with the position INC has purportedly taken; i'm on the fence about RNO notification -- in practice most RNOs won't be able to keep up with such notices, so this might just be an expedient way to address the concerns of some specific neighborhoods that have opposed the ordinance, but it could also be a form of red tape

Sundari Kraft said...

If you were going to support the proposed ordinance, I would certainly hope that it would be based strictly on the ordinance's merits. The thought that any one person (and whatever quirks they may have) would possibly sway your decision seems strange to me. Even if I suddenly sprouted horns, that doesn't change a thing about the content of the proposed ordinance.

I don't agree with your characterization that I've made an attack against INC (or INC ZAP). It clearly appears, based on the meeting that I attended on Saturday, that INC will end up issuing a position statement against various parts of the ordinance. This is not only my opinion; it is also the assessment of the Principal City Planner who attended Saturday's meeting. The thrust of the "INC doesn't speak for me" theme is exactly what it states -- there are many people within our city who support the proposed ordinance as it is written. If INC stands against the ordinance, then clearly INC is not speaking for those people. I am encouraging those individuals who do not have the advantage of INC's large microphone to state their own individual beliefs, rather than allowing City Council to operate under the assumption that since the individuals in question live in Denver neighborhoods, therefore INC speaks for them.

And, of course, if residents of Stapleton or La Alma/Lincoln Park also wish to contact their councilmembers and state that they don't personally support the ordinance, they are more than welcome to do so.

I do wish that you would not overgeneralize the comments that I made about the members of INC, which I believe were mild. It is my assessment, based on the meetings I have attended, that INC members are generally more conservative (perhaps not politically, but at least from a neighborhood operations perspective) than the general public. That is my opinion. If you believe that INC is a liberal organization, then that is your opinion. Please don't try to demonize me -- or the FPA ordinance -- just because we disagree.

I believe that evaluating the efficacy of other cities' ordinances is a fine way to determine what would work for Denver. If several cities are able to demonstrate that their ordinances work without space minimums, then that is useful information. All cities' ordinances (including Denver's) contain language along the line that shelters must be "adequate to safely house the animal," etc. In all honesty, why isn't that enough? I really wish we could get rid of the designated space minimums altogether.

garbanzito said...

my "lean" has shifted based on the issues that your reaction to INC brings up, not just the fact that you couldn't come to grips with the biggest neighborhood advocate in Denver

rather than mounting a campaign against INC, i think you should find a way to work it out with them; i think the fundamental problem is that the initial draft was not done with all the stakeholders at the table; acknowledging that and dealing with it are still possible

aside from this, the FPA ordinance seemed overwrought to me from the start; initially i trusted your committee's research on husbandry issues, but now that i've done some of my own i'm even less comfortable with the ordinance; i don't think the strategy of tossing in some tepid regulations to make the ordinance more palatable to skeptics has succeeded

i think i made clear what i consider conservative; i am not demonizing you -- it sounds like you are just very defensive; your critique of INC's decision may have some merit, but it also has some logical flaws

Sundari Kraft said...

If INC would allow me to attend future meetings and further discuss this ordinance I would be back anytime, anywhere, for however long. My work schedule is typically packed on Saturdays, but I have always cleared my mornings whenever there was an opportunity to meet with INC. I would welcome any and all opportunities to continue working with them.

We are continuing to reach out to individual RNOs. We've attended 11 RNO meetings so far, with 3 more scheduled right now in April. We're sending out another email blast this afternoon (our 5th) to the RNOs on our list, providing additional information, asking them for feedback, and asking them if we can meet with them.

The efforts I initiated in this blog post were in no way an attack on INC. They were an invitation for individual Denver residents to make their feelings known about the proposed ordinance, even if those feelings contradict what INC may issue as an official statement on behalf of the neighborhoods.

Although you continue to insist that the draft ordinance wasn't constructed with the proper public process (and I'll continue to point out that CPD followed all legal requirements for issuing a text amendment) the public process is still going on. Just today one of the neighborhood advocates had a meeting with someone at the city, and she, city staff, and myself are working to modify the language of specific parts of the ordinance in ways that might work better for all involved. This advocate is coming to visit my backyard later this week, and hopefully she and I will continue our discussions. She has specific requests regarding changes she'd like to see in the ordinance. I may not agree with all of them, but the city is attempting to work with her, as am I. If you had any specific modifications you would like to see to the proposed ordinance, we would work with you in the same way.

At any rate, the consistent way in which I've responded to your concerns in this public forum should speak to the responsiveness of FPA advocates throughout this process. If you had addressed your concerns to Councilmembers or city staff, I imagine that you'd be granted the same courtesy.

Sundari Kraft said...

Also, I feel confident in the evidence and arguments I've presented in favor of the animal care guidelines within the ordinance. Not for nothing, but I am successfully raising happy, healthy FPAs in an urban setting. I also teach classes on urban FPA care through a couple of local organizations. I could be incorrect, but I am guessing that you (Steve) do not currently have chickens or goats in your backyard. Please forgive me if I sound a little brusque, but it becomes tiring after a while (and lots and lots of explaining) to continue to be challenged on reasonable animal keeping practices from folks who aren't/haven't raised happy, healthy animals.