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Chickens could soon be allowed in backyards
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Chickens could soon be allowed in backyards

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HANFORD — At the request of several citizens, the Hanford City Council is now discussing the possibility of allowing chickens in certain zones in the city.

Recently, council directed staff to draft an ordinance to allow chickens because the city’s current animal control ordinance does not allow for the legal keeping of chickens within the city.

Police Chief Parker Sever presented a draft ordinance to the council during its study session meeting Tuesday evening.

Sever said he reviewed ordinances from several other cities and came up with something that he thought could work for Hanford. According to the draft ordinance:

  • Chickens would be allowed in the R-L-5, R-L-8 and R-L-12 zones, which are low-density residential zones
  • Chickens must be kept in coops, are not allowed to roam free
  • Chickens are not allowed to be kept in the front or side yards; back yards only
  • Food must be stored correctly
  • Chickens cannot be slaughtered in the city
  • Roosters are not permitted in the city

The draft ordinance also provides guidelines for chicken coops and runs and mandates that the chicken areas be kept clean and free from odors and unsanitary conditions.

Various setbacks from property lines and residential dwelling were also outlined. According to the draft ordinance, the coops must be at least 10 feet from property lines and 5 feet from residential dwellings.

Sever said he thought it was important to maintain some separation between the coops and neighboring properties because of the smell or other animals.

He said violations of the ordinance would lead to citations from animal control or code enforcement.

Council agreed with most of the draft ordinance and came to a consensus to allow a maximum of three chickens, which would provide about 14 eggs per week.

The only thing council asked to add to the draft ordinance would be the allowance of chickens in medium density zones, as long as the property contains only a single residential unit and meets all required setbacks.

There will be a public hearing regarding the draft ordinance at a future date.

The reporter can be reached at julissazavala@hanfordsentinel.com

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