Post Falls, ID asked in Agricultural Law and Land Use & Zoning for Idaho

Q: Per ID Code § 22-4504 (2016), can a city in Idaho pass an ordinance/law requiring a person to buy a permit to farm?

The city recently passed an ordinance saying you have to buy a yearly license/permit to raise animals (chickens, ducks...) in city limits. AND prohibits raising certain animals - male chickens, for example. And if you get caught, they fine you for being no complacent!

1 Lawyer Answer
Kevin M Rogers
Kevin M Rogers
  • Boise, ID
  • Licensed in Idaho

A: There is nothing in Idaho Code 22-4504 which would prevent a city from enacting an ordinance requiring the owner of a farm to obtain a permit to raise certain animals, such as chickens, ducks within city limits. It says simply that Idaho prefers farming operations, period. The distinction this ordinance makes has to do with the County anticipating zoning problems and being required to address farming operations as they have to do with zoning. The operative language says, "[t]he county planning and zoning authority may adopt a nuisance waiver procedure to be recorded with the county recorder or appropriate county recording authority pursuant to residential divisions of property. What the City has done is called a "reasonable restriction." Farming, although important to everyone, is not a "protected class" of individuals. The City could legally pass an ordinance that says that "ownership of chickens, roosters, wild fowl" etc. are no permitted within the confines of the City of Boise, and be upheld in court. However, in my opinion, they have taken the approach by "forward thinking" mayors present and past, that it adds to the diverseness of the city to enable individuals to keep these, particular farm animals, but the City has an overwhelming interest in making sure that the individuals doing the "backyard farming," do it correctly and cleanly and do not pose a nuisance to neighbors.

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