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Summary of Santee City Staff Report on Chickens and Urban Agriculture

City Council is bringing the chicken-keeping topic up again- this time it seems like there will be a vote. Check out the details of what they're considering.

See previous coverage of the chicken-keeping issue here.

A City of Santee Staff Report on Urban Agriculture and the Regulatory Options Regarding the Keeping of Fowl was released recently with the (the topic was pushed to the ) to guide the council in their vote on the ordinance that regulates raising chicken within city limits.

Below is a summary of the 13 page report. You can find the full report in the media box. City staff consulted with County Animal Services and Vector Control personnel in creating the report.

A. Urban Agriculture in Santee

• "Growing ones vegetables on a small scale in Santees single-family residential zones may be practiced without zoning restrictions."

B. Chicken-Keeping

• This section outlines appeals and petitions sent to City Hall in support and against chicken-keeping in Santee.

• Supporters motivated by "fresh eggs... fertilize the soil and keep insect population in check."

• Opponents concerned about "potential adverse affects of noise and odor... decline in property value, attraction of flies and rodents and exposure to avian viruses."

• City Council instructed staff report with these guidelines: "Chickens only kept for personal consumption of eggs, no commercial slaughter of chickens allowed, coops required to be well constructed and have appropriate setbacks from adjacent properties, neighbors would be required to be notified in case of chicken-keeping.

C. Existing Santee Chicken and Related Regulations

• Number of household domestic pets (dogs, cats) is limited to four

• Fowl, which includes chickens, hens, turkeys, ducks, geese, and other animals similar in size, weight and appearance, are not considered household pets.

• Currently, fowl are only allowed in the "Hillside/Limited Resdidential (HL) and Low Density Residential (R-1) zones where lot sizes exceed 15,000 feet." These areas are a small fraction of the city on the outskirts.

• Setback and coop/enclosure requirements are not specified in the ordinances.

D. Summary of Other City Chicken-Keeping Ordinances

• A detailed chart is available at the end of the report, outling what each city allows.

E. Staff Analysis - Regulation Options

• Staff suggests that the number of fowl be limited to one per 2,000 sq. feet, averaging 3-5 chickens per lot.

• Prohibit roosters outright in single-family residential zones. Chickens don't need roosters to lay eggs.

• Require containment, a coop or hen house that is rodent and hawk proof, and require the coop to be at least 15 feet from adjecent properties. The report contains more details and illustrations.

• Require proper food storage that is rodent proff.

• Prohibit the slaughter of chickens for poultry.

• Prohibit the commercial breeding of chickens.

• Require proper sanitation and codes to enforce it.

Shari Lynn Turner October 11, 2011 at 10:10 PM
Think this is a very important way to increase our own sustainablity here in Santee...the recent "Great" Blackout shows how fragile the whole system is, and chickens(eggs) and homegrown veggies would be a way to prepare for longer disasters. (I would also recommend homeowners/renters get rain water storage barrels/systems, to have available water in a drought to irrigate the urban gardens, etc.)
Jean October 12, 2011 at 11:21 PM
I don't see that the staff recommended another code enforcement person for the city to handle the complaints.. Fifteen feet? Are you kidding? Who wants a chicken coop 15 feet from their bedroom window.
safesantee October 13, 2011 at 09:17 AM
Well who knew you were limited to four domestic animals. Seriously though, this is just one mans observation, but it seems that no one enforces codes as it is, so no worries i guess. ha
Motivated Santee Citizen October 13, 2011 at 08:57 PM
You are right that 15 feet is a joke. So it went from 50 feet I believe as it was written before to now 15 feet? This is not helpful in changing the back woods, hick town, lawless image of Santee to one of a more sophisticated, take me seriously as a city nature. Also,, there goes property values declining even more, when they should be climbing if Santee were doing things that are in-line with all of the redevelopment instead of approving idiotic ordinances like this one.

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