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South Jordan Reviews Rooster Rules

Nov 06, 2015 11:04AM ● Published by Bryan Scott

By James Luke

Some South Jordan residents who live near roosters have asked the city for help in dealing with their noisy neighbors. A group of people from neighborhoods within earshot of legally allowed roosters pleaded with the city council to find a way to silence or evict the birds, which they say have no sense of a decent time to crow.

Resident Justin Brande began his comments to the city council with a reading from his cell phone screen of times that he sent a message to himself, having just woken to the rooster’s crow. He reports that each of the listed a.m. times, well before any typical waking hour, leaves him “unable to go back to sleep, causing a significant impact to my family and me in loss of sleep.”

Neighbor Shawn Matheson notes that the city is more urbanized than in the past. “Some regulations of this issue have passed in Herriman and Riverton,” he notes, referring to neighboring cities that face similar issues of rapid urban growth in formerly agricultural areas of the Salt Lake Valley.

City Attorney Ryan Loose discussed rooster laws with city council and staff at a Sep. 15 study session. Currently three zones in South Jordan allow roosters: A-1, A-5, and R-1.8. The options before the council involve either a ban on roosters altogether, or retaining the ordinance allowing roosters in zones currently permitted, or they can seek a regulatory solution.

The current ownership of roosters in permitted zones is a property right, Loose noted, making it difficult to immediately end the practice without compensating the owner. Placing a value on rooster ownership could be legally difficult, he explained. 

If the council were to pass a resolution restricting the right to retain roosters, he noted, “those people who now have roosters would retain the right to keep the birds as a pre-existing nonconforming use.”

Councilman Chris Rogers noted that South Jordan is set to continue in its current trend of having significantly less agricultural uses in the future. “A resolution to restrict roosters will gradually lead to the phase out of all the roosters in the city,” he predicted.

Resident Curtis Newman noted that the birds he hears “crow almost 24 hours a day,” with 3:30 a.m. one of their most active periods in his experience.

Neighbor Jake Burns feels there is a double standard for agricultural animals. “If dogs bark in the night, the police are called. In our case, neighbors have called police and get a negative response. No one wants to touch the roosters because they are in an agricultural area.”

Resident Tiffany Brande noted that she is not directly adjacent to agricultural lots, but that she “still hears the roosters waking her up as early as two-something in the morning. The noise carries.” She observed also that the handful of people speaking at the council meeting represent a larger group of people with similar complaints.                                   λ

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