Rapid City Council to consider allowing hens in town limits

RAPID CITY, S.D. – It’s been nearly six years since Rapid City last considered allowing residents to raise hens in town. The issue was brought forth Wednesday at the Legal and Finance Committee meeting, by Chair Darla Drew. Drew said the younger generations were interested in raising chickens and wanted to give them the opportunity to try it.

Committee suggested starting a pilot program for those interested, to see how it goes.

“Having hens would allow people to be self-reliant and self-sustaining and we are an agricultural state, we should allow our kids to learn what that’s like. and learn to be responsible by caring for things,” said 15 year-old resident, Madison, who addressed council at the meeting. 

But there are some restrictions:

  • A license from the Humane Society of the Black Hills would need to be obtained to raise hens
  • Hens are only allowed on single family zoned properties
  • No more than four hens at a licensed property
  • Only hens are allowed
  • Hens will have to be housed in a secure, predator-proof, well-ventilated structure
  • The fenced area and structure cannot be located in a front or side yard, or by a drainage area
  • Pens will have to be sanitary and well-kept as well as fenced

Bill Evans, Ward 2 Alderman, also addressed committee though he is not a member of the committee and though he said he’s not for or against he did have some concerns when it comes to neighbors.

“When you live in a community, you affect everyone around you and it’s not just you want to have hens, people on both sides of you may not want hen,” said Evans.

Ten residents submitted public comment and only one comment was speaking against the idea, calling chickens a ‘nuisance.’

According to Drew and alderman Jason Salumun, Humane Society is against the idea. A compromise or some form of agreement will have to be reached with the organization as they would be supplying the permits.

Drew asked City Attorney Joel Landeen as well as Community Development Director Ken Young to work together with their departments to develop a draft for the pilot, to present at the next council meeting.

The discussion will continue Monday night.

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