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Mayor Asks City Council to Consider Allowing More Chicken Coops in Santee

Mayor Randy Voepel is pushing for urban agriculture within Santee. In order to do that, however, the City Council will first need to decide if they want to put the matter up to a vote.

Santee believes that more Santeeans would raise chickens if zoning laws allowed them to do so.

He has asked the City Council to consider voting to amend a law which governs animal regulations in residential districts of the city. If the Council agrees to consider the proposal, additional residents could soon have the option to keep a small number of chickens on their property.

The Council will vote at the as to whether to give the matter consideration. If approved, the item would be added to a future Council meeting agenda for a formal vote.

“Many citizens are keeping chickens these days because of the high cost at grocery stores and concerns about chemical additives and hormones,” Voepel wrote in a memo to the City Council. “Currently, chickens are not permitted in most residential zones, and I want to encourage in Santee by allowing our citizens to keep five or so chickens in a coop with the appropriate setbacks.”

Voepel further asserted that he is not looking to change zoning as it pertains to  roosters, however, because they “they tend to drive people crazy,” he said. 

Although a number of municipalities within the county allow for people to raise fowl, many times zoning ordinances only permit homes within more rural areas to do so. 

Some believe that the ordinances are a bit too strict.

In 2009, La Mesa resident Jill Richardson began circulating a petition asking city officials make it legal for residents to raise up to six hens per single family residence homes. Earlier this year, residents of the city of San Diego began advocating for a similar change after two chickens living in a back yard coop in North Park were "forced into hiding" after city officials learned their presence.

Santee Associate City Planner Angela Reeder said that she’s aware of a growing urban chicken movement.

“People are going green, and chickens eat bugs in outdoor gardens which allow people not to use pesticides,” Reeder said. “Right now in Santee, though, our zoning ordinance only allows chickens to be raised in the HL and R-1 residential zones, which are lower-density residential areas.”

Voepel said that he wants to loosen the current regulation, which only permits one fowl to be kept within every 2,000 square feet of site area, and to allow for chicken coops to be installed, provided they are in a distance of no less than 50 feet from neighboring homes.

“Requiring a 50-foot setback will kill 70 to 80 percent of the homes in Santee because the houses are just too close together,” he said, furthering that those eligible for coops would be required to have a garden as a means of offsetting chicken waste.

“Because of an increasing interest in urban agriculture changing the ordinance to allow greater numbers of Santeeans to raise chickens, should they choose, seems like a cool thing to do,” Voepel said.  “So I’ve put an item on the June 8 agenda to see if members of the City Council might want to pursue it.  If they don’t [the idea] will die right there.”

If you would like to make your voice heard on this issue, come down to , fill out a public speaker slip and tell the Council what you think.

Alan Stuart June 08, 2011 at 04:35 PM
Jean & Patricia, Hillikers is a small factory farm (CAFO, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) there place attacks flies and smells because they have a lot of birds pooping in one area. A backyard operation (which I have had for almost six years) does not ever smell nor does it attack flies anymore then dog poop. Backyard chickens are aloud to move, walk around dig and scratch so their droppings are dropped not in just one spot. They also dry up really fast (great fertilizer) dry chicken poop doesn't smell or attract flies. Furthermore, I live right by that hill that just burnt which if you walk in you can walk to Poway and the Sycamore Canyon Preserve and even all the way to Iron Mountain off the 67, its a big open space! We never have problems with raccoons trying to get it. I've seen coyotes all the way down by the 711 on Carlton Hills and Halburns/Carlton Oaks but never in my yard!! My backyard doesn't smell the house kitty corner to mine however is another story they have dogs and don't clean up.. maybe your solution to that is banning dogs? do not punish people who wish to live in a personal, neighborhood and community sustainable way, that is also fiscally responsible because of the rising price of food. Food prices are set to quadruple in the next decade.
Alan Stuart June 08, 2011 at 04:39 PM
La Jolla (outside of La Jolla Shores area) uses The City of San Diego zoning regulations so they can in fact have chickens in La Jolla..sorry to tell you that.
Alan Stuart June 08, 2011 at 04:42 PM
No roosters is always the case, and understandably so
Melonie June 09, 2011 at 08:07 AM
http://www.10news.com/news/28178420/detail.html Pretty funny that both the chickens and medical marijuana were on the Santee Council's agenda for today. Channel 10's headline should have read: "Santee Considers Allowing 'Herb'an Chicken Farming" Ba Dun Bump shiiii!
Smarty Pants August 12, 2011 at 11:06 PM
I love that comment Melonie! The real reason for this re thinking is so a few illegal peckers can stay in the City. Noise complaints have been filed for the flockers. as for the fugitive birds. Arrest are pending. O.K. enough fun... These are farm animals. Something you expect in Ramona or perhaps our neighbor Lake Side. Not in our neighbors back yard in the City of Santee. Where the homes are so close to one another. The City of Santee has an ordinance that make sense for our community at large. I believe the counsel will see that. The are not that daffed to thing that back yard farming will make The City of Santee a better place. Or feed the multitudes. Perhaps if we allow the pot in we could all deal with our neighbors better or just not care about the noise they make. Can you use pot to season chicken? Like basil?

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