Riverton council voted 5-2 to allow chickens in city; Council voted 7-0 to support the WLRC in Lander

Riverton City Seal-full color  hi resBy Ernie Over, managing editor, county10.com

(Riverton, Wyo.) – The Riverton City Council approved on first reading Tuesday night amendments to the city’s animal control ordinances to allow chickens to be raised in within the city limits. The vote was 5-2 with Mayor Ron Warpness and Council member Mary Ellen Christensen voting no.

The council did, however, put some restrictions in place, amending the ordinance to allow no more than 12 chickens and no roosters at any one location, requiring nine square feet of space for each pen and putting in place a 15 foot setback from the property line. Councilors, however, agreed to allow the chicken pens without the setback if the property owner obtained written permission from his or her neighbors. That would allow residents with smaller back yards to still raise chickens if they so desired.

City Administrator Steven Weaver said that there was no objection from the public on the ordinance, as no one attended the meeting to speak on the issue.  The question of allowing chickens in the city was first raised by Council Member Todd Smith, who said he had constituents approach him and ask that the code be changed to allow chickens. At previous council meetings, Police Chief Mike Broadhead reported that, to his knowledge, his department had never received a complaint about chickens.

In previous meetings, Christensen recalled that there was a rooster somewhere in her neighborhood, because she could hear it. Mayor Warpness said he voted against the ordinance because he felt chickens should not be allowed city wide, especially not in neighborhoods with a Residential A designation. Smith, and his constituents, however, live in a Residential A zone. After the vote, the Mayor said he was comfortable with the council’s action, according to Weaver.

In other action Tuesday night, the council unanimously approved Resolution 1268, supporting the clients and employees at the Wyoming Life Resource Center in Lander. The resolution came about after Lander Mayor Mick Wolfe asked Warpness if Riverton would follow his city’s lead with a resolution of support. At the state legislature, a bill that has passed the House but not yet introduced into the Senate calls for a study of transitioning clients from the Lander institution to community-based programs. The WLRC is Lander’s largest employer with some 420 workers, many of whom commute there from Riverton.

The Resolution states:


 WHEREAS, the Wyoming Life Resource Center has been serving clients with intellecutal disabilities, acquired brain injuries and long term medical care since June 1912; and

     WHEREAS, the scope and mission of the services provided by the Wyoming Life Resource Center has evolved over the past 101 years; and

WHEREAS, the Wyoming Life Resource Center has provided invaluable care for numerous Riverton citizens over the years; and

     WHEREAS, the City of Riverton supports the Wyoming Life Resource Center clients and employees:

 NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE GOVERNING BODY OF THE CITY OF RIVERTON that the City of Riverton supports the continuation of the Wyoming Life Resource Center.

PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED this 22nd day of January, 2013


By Ronald O. Warpness, Mayor


Courtney V. Bohlender, City Clerk/Administrative Services Director