Amending the Lakewood Zoning Ordinance - Pigeons

City Council
Small Animal Amendments
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The information posted here and presented in the packet for the September 9th meeting is missing two documents that were presented at the Planning Commission Study Session on May 22nd.

1. A staff memo dated March 13th discussing diseases associated with pigeons was previously available on Lakewood Speaks but has since be removed.

2. A document presented by staff at the May 22nd Planning Commission Study Session regarding options to consider for ordinance language was not posted on Lakewood Speaks prior to or following the May 22nd meeting.

Omission of these two documents leaves a gap for the public and City Council in information that was considered by the Planning Commission when making changes to the ordinance. Why is staff filtering information from Council and the public?

09/02/2019 5:45 pm
Mary Gilkison
6 / 11 Council Members have viewed this comment

Regarding the changes in ordinances on the keeping of pigeons: These changes are ridiculous. Why is the city trying to help residents keep pigeons? I can understand how the city justifies food-producing animals like chickens and ducks. What exactly do pigeons provide? I'll tell you what - they provide pigeon poop! Is the city is trying to help residents provide guano for their vegetable gardens? Good luck with that - it would have to be scraped off the property of many surrounding neighbors!

Pigeons are creatures of habit, perching and roosting in places where it's entered the tiny brains of one or two of the flock. Fear not, the City of Lakewood has a remedy!

"Pigeons shall not be allowed to perch or linger on buildings or property of individuals other than the
owners of pigeons." (Attachment A)

Has Planning or City Council truly read these words? How will this requirement be enforced? Must neighbors dealing with cooing and pooping invaders take photos of the birds and submit them to Code Enforcement? Then Code Enforcement would say, "How do you know it's that guy's pigeons? They all look alike. These could be wild ones. Sorry, though, about your solar panels. I'm sure that poop cuts their efficiency."

And read the background text of these proposed changes - all brought about by one resident of Ward 4 who was keeping pigeons illegally. Who is this person and why is that person so important that the ordinance is changing to his benefit?

Are you people insane?

09/04/2019 7:27 am
Denise M. Luepschen
6 / 11 Council Members have viewed this comment

I am not in favor of this or any ordinance permitting [homeowners] to keep pigeons on their lots, especially smaller lots. Pigeons are known to carry more diseases than rats, and you know how well that has worked. Knowing that my next door neighbor could keep pigeons 5' from my yard with the noise, and filth pigeons create is bewildering.

09/04/2019 8:45 am
Lynne Kinney
6 / 11 Council Members have viewed this comment

Here are two of the justifications given for why residents on small lots should be able to keep up to 20 pigeons per lot just 5 feet away from the property line:

e. Amendment of the Zoning Ordinance promotes the health, safety or welfare of the inhabitants of the City and the purposes of this Ordinance;
f. Amendment of the Zoning Ordinance is in the public interest;

I cannot understand how this amendment in ANY WAY helps promote the health, safety or welfare of residents or how it can possibly be in the public interest to have more flocks of pigeons (frequently nicknamed "flying rats").

Pigeons can spread disease.
Their droppings are corrosive and unsanitary, and since pigeons are simple-minded flocking creatures of habit, they will habitually roost and perch in certain places and cause concentrated areas of guano accumulation. Depending on surrounding neighborhood structures and cable/power lines, that guano will not be confined to the pigeon-owner's lot. Tell me how this promotes health, safety, or welfare of residents.

A few years ago, a neighbor on the block next to me was annoyed by pigeons roosting on the lines next to his property. He spread rat poison in the street underneath the lines. How did I know it was poison? While walking my dogs, they showed great interest in something apparently edible in the street. It consisted of birdseed mixed with round gray clay-appearing globules. I called Lakewood Police to report it, and the answering officer wasn't concerned, demanding to know how I could be sure it was poison. This street, Van Gordon Court, is the main drag through Green Mountain Village 1 and a short distance from Green Mountain Elementary. Anyone's dog could ingest it, not to mention wild birds of all kinds. I went down and swept it up myself and disposed of it.

If more flocks of pigeons are annoying more residents in neighborhoods where they weren't allowed before, you will have more neighbors taking action on their own. A proliferation of poison in the environment is hardly healthful, safe, or promote the welfare of anyone.

09/04/2019 1:37 pm
Denise M. Luepschen
6 / 11 Council Members have viewed this comment

I believe that having pigeons is a terrific idea. It will increase the biodiversity of our community. As a benefit we do have predators that will likely keep them in check like they have done in Soltera.

09/05/2019 9:22 pm
Rafael Olivares
6 / 11 Council Members have viewed this comment

I want to say that I STRONGLY oppose the change to allow increased pigeon keeping: for health reasons considering all the diseases that they can contribute to spreading (for example thru rats and mice), and that any control of where they roost or flock is totally not enforceable.

09/06/2019 11:20 am
Richard Hurley
6 / 11 Council Members have viewed this comment

Based on the information provided by Code Enforcement and Planning Staff I am against modifying Lakewood Code to allow pigeon keeping on lots smaller than currently allowed. All evidence indicates that the result of relaxing code to accommodate a single code violator will be the introduction of heightened risk to the community of spreading disease, and the likely increase of nuisance complaints if the birds are allowed in more dense housing than current code allows.

Please vote this down. The effects will be:
To preserve the right to keep pigeons where they are currently allowed
To acknowledge the documented health risks associated with pigeons
To continue to have pigeon keeping enforcement decisions under the purview of the Code Enforcement Department.

Alan Heald

09/06/2019 4:59 pm
Alan Heald
6 / 11 Council Members have viewed this comment

I'm seeing that only one Council member has viewed any comments posted on this topic thus far. This is important because it's pretty much the way the Rat House debacle started. Lack of interest in public safety. We all know how that went.

To loosely quote Lynne Kinney, because one person has too many pigeons causing a neighbor to complain, the City is proposing a change to allow this unwanted situation on any property, instead of dealing with the one individual who is providing group shelter for these bothersome creatures. I do not see the sense in becoming aware of an isolated unhealthy nuisance and then beginning the process of legislation to expand it across the City. Concentrations of these kinds of birds do not work on smaller residential lots and Planning knows it. What's the game on this one?

09/07/2019 12:05 pm
Lynn English
6 / 11 Council Members have viewed this comment

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