GOLD BEACH – The Gold Beach City Council voted 3-2 Monday night to have City Administrator Jodi Fritts prepare a proposed ordinance to allow residents to raise chickens in the city limits after a resident made an impassioned plea for a zoning change to allow the domestic birds.
“Current law does not allow chickens. They are classified as livestock,” Candace Callen told the council.
Callen said she was proposing that chickens be allowed, but not roosters. She noted that the City Planning Commission had opposed chickens in town because they felt they would draw predators.
“I don’t think chickens are going to draw more than what is currently in our garbage cans,” Callen said.
She said that the state capital, Salem, now has an ordinance allowing chickens “one that is reasonable.”
Callen said that having chickens in a yard would be no worse than the deer that are there now.
“Some people like them. Some like the eggs,” she said. “If you have a home right next to a restaurant, maybe there is a health issue. But if you live in the city, I would like to have chickens.”
She noted the current city ordinances describe livestock as “Cows, horses, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks, geese, llamas, alpacas, and other similar animals. Livestock does not include domestic cats, dogs, small birds, rodents, insects, serpents, or other smaller animals normally kept within a dwelling.”
“Keep in mind that there are covered areas that actually have horses,” Fritts told the council.
Some areas such as the Hunter Creek area have residents that had horses when they were annexed and are grandfathered in.
Fritts provided the council with copies of ordinances approved this year by the cities of Independence and Lafayette allowing chickens
Commissioner Larry Brennan proposed that an ordinance allow chickens in a single-family residence “not a zone.”
Fritts said the Planning Commission considered allowing chickens in 2007 or 2008.
“That’s where the predator thing came up,” she said.
Commissioner Brice Gregory questioned why many animals are prohibited.
“Why couldn’t I have a goat for milk?” he asked.
Callen said more and more cities have prohibited livestock but now are allowing chickens “but no goats or horses.”
“If we’ve got a house way up the hill, why not have chickens and a goat,” Gregory said.
“You can have chickens but you certainly don’t want a rooster at the crack of dawn every day,” Mayor Jim Wernicke said.
Brennan then proposed that Fritts prepare an ordinance to allow chickens in the city.
“Typically these kinds of things go to the Planning Commission first, Councilor Tamie Kaufman said.
“We do actually have the authority,” Fritts said. “The Planning Commission recommends, but this is within our authority. I will let the Planning Commission know this is the will of the council.”
The council then voted 3-2 to have the ordinance drawn up for a later meeting, with Kaufman and Jeff Crook voting no and Brennan, Gregory and Doug Brand voting in favor.