C.I.T.Y. - Chickens In The Yard was on the agenda at the Salem City Council meeting for the first time on Monday, May 11th, 2009. We asked that the issue of urban chicken keeping be addressed in a pubic hearing and a motion was passed. The public hearing will be held on May 26, 2009 at City Hall in Salem.
City staff came back with the following recommendations for a proposed ordinance which includes the following:
- No roosters to be allowed.
- No more than three hens allowed on a property.
- Minimum lot size to be 10,000 feet.
- Chicken coops permitted in side and rear yards only, with a minimum setback of twenty (20) feet to any property line.
- Chickens must remain in the enclosure.
- Chicken keeping as a Special Use in the Residential Single-Family (RS) zone only.
- Chickens must be kept in sanitary condition, so as not to emit odors, or endanger public health.
Well, it's a start. But this is going to virtually eliminate about 72% of the properties in Salem that are under 10,000 feet. Basically, your lot would have to be nearly .23 acres in order to have three small pet hens. Yet, you are not restricted from having a 100 pound pig under current Salem City rules, no matter how large your lot. Lets not even talk about how many dogs and cats you can have. There is no limit...
There are no restrictions on lot size for chicken keeping in Portland, Oregon and it has been working there since the 1960s. We will challenge this in the public hearing with expert testimony from a state master planner.
The proposed setback is also unacceptable as some people have property on alley ways and have a proper buffer from neighboring residences. Twenty feet from the property line would not offer enough flexibility to people in coop placement. We will also be challenging this stipulation at the public hearing.
We welcome public support and hope that those in support of allowing Salem to keep pace with other Northwest cities that allow backyard hens will join with us on May 26th.
I will be speaking about the issue of property values and the myth that having chickens drops a property's value.
Hope to see you there! And we hope to see chickens in the backyards of Salem residents who choose to have them. With everyone's help we can pullet it. :-) (Very bad chicken pun, but I couldn't help myself...)