Will backyard chickens make good next door neighbors?

Chickens. Our fine feathered friends. We love to skewer 'em, stuff 'em, roast 'em and even broast 'em. But do we want them as our next door neighbors? That is one of the questions before a Joint Hearing of the Planning Commission and Houghton Community Council on June 14.

The proposed regulations on "backyard chickens" can be found on pages 73 and 74 of the Public Hearing on Miscellaneous Code Amendments, Part 1 (read all about it at http://www.kirklandwa.gov/depart/Planning/hcc.htm) and is quoted below.

If you wish to express an opinion on this issue, either pro or con, please make your voice heard. The Planning Commission and Houghton Community Council welcome your written comments.

Personally, I like chickens as much as the next guy, but I think I'll stick to ordering my eggs at George's.

I like my fresh eggs sunny side up with a side of bacon. But please hold the chicken manure.

The following is quoted from the above referenced document under 115.20 Animals in Residential Zones, Chickens:

1.  Types Allowed: a. Female chickens, pullets, or hens. b. Roosters are prohibited, except in RSA zones.
2.  Required Review Process: None
3.  Maximum total number:

a. Chickens per dwelling unit: 2 plus one per each 1,000 sq. ft of lot area in excess of 5,000 sq. ft with a maximum of 20.

b. Roosters per dwelling unit (RSA zones only): No more than 20 on lots greater than 35,000 sq. ft. and no more than 3 on lots less than 35,000 sq. ft.

4.  Minimum Lot Size: In the RSA zone, none; otherwise 5,000 sq. ft. 5.  Specifications:

b. The applicant must provide a fully enclosed structure for keeping chickens (e.g. coop or nesting box). The coop or nesting box shall provide protection from the following:

  1.   Weather by providing a fully enclosed structure including walls, roof, floor, and securable door.
  2.   Predators by being made of sturdy material.
  3.   Rodents by limiting small points of uncontrolled access, no larger than one-half inch.

c. The applicant must provide an enclosed outside run or pen for roaming. The run or pen shall provide protection from the following:

  1.   Weather by providing a covered portion of run space that allows chickens to escape rain and snow.
  2.   Predators by being made of sturdy, small gauge animal fencing such as chain link or chicken wire along the entire perimeter of the run. Floor fencing shall also be installed. The top of the run must be covered with additional similar fencing or netting in a manner that helps prevent chickens from straying.
  3.   Rodents by limiting small points of uncontrolled access, no larger than one-half inch

d. KZC 115.08 Accessory Structure shall apply to shelters, coops, nesting boxes, runs and pens and other structures. In addition;

  1.  The shelter, coop, and nesting box must be limited to no greater than a total of 200 sq. ft. in gross floor area and must be no greater than eight feet in height and; .
  2.  The run or pen must be no greater than six feet in height.

6.  Minimum Setbacks:

  1. Structures shall not be located in the required yards for the underlying zone, except as allowed by KZC 115.115 and except for the following:
    1. 1)  A chicken may forage or roam freely anywhere within a fenced yard.
    2. 2)  Mobile structures (chicken tractors) may be anywhere within a fenced yard.
  2. A shelter and run and other structures may be located within five feet of any property line provided that the property adjacent to the proposed location of the chicken shelter or run is either:
    1. 1)  Occupied primarily by a non-residential use such as a church, school or park
    2. 2)  A permanently dedicated easement or tract such as a native growth protection easement or open space tract that is at least 10 feet in width.
    3. 3)  A street or permanent trail or access corridor that includes a right of way at least 10 feet in width.

7.  SpecialRegulations:

a. Confinement: Adequate measures must be taken to provide safety for chickens and to prevent them from straying onto adjacent property.

b. Cleanliness - Chickens must be sheltered in a clean structure and pen.