Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Great news not so great after all -- staff proposes to make hens for the elites only

Well, here at LOVESalem we've never been one to bash government or to join the chorus who insist that government folks can't be trusted to run even something as simple as a two-car parade without screwing it up.

That's why it's so disconcerting to find how the proposed ordinance to allow some urban hens in Salem has been disfigured by the staff recommendation:
The city staff has recommended that chickens be allowed only on single-family residential lots larger than 10,000 square feet, or about 0.23 acres. No roosters would be allowed, and coops would have to be kept in back and side yards at least 20 feet from the property line.
In other words, in the close-in neighborhoods where hens were kept for decades without a problem, few homeowners will be allowed to have hens, because of the arbitrary lot-size and setback restriction. Thus, under this proposal, high-income McMansion owners in Sprawlville sections of South and West Salem will all be allowed to have hens, but many people in modest, working-class neighborhoods of NE Salem will not.

How about this? Instead of trying to micromanage urban hens, why doesn't Salem just go back to the status quo ante of 1970? There was no ban on hens then, and I can't find a single person who recalls a problem.

UPDATE: Here are the key items in the staff recommendation:
Staff's Recommendation – Staff has revised our original proposal somewhat. Here's what it currently says:
1. No roosters
2. Up to three hens allowed
3. Minimum lot size 10,000 square feet
4. Coops must be 20' away from any property line
5. Chickens must remain in an enclosure at all times (your yard is not an enclosure)
6. Chickens allowed as a special use in single family residential zones
7. Chickens must be maintained in a sanitary condition
Obviously 3 and 4 are the killers that basically make urban hens only possible for suburban sprawl development areas. The core of Salem, where chickens were allowed without incident until the 1970s, would be excluded.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I found this to be terrible news ~ especially if the city requires that the hens remain confined. If you've got 10,000 feet, why can't the chickens wander your large lawn? My central Salem property includes a small second lot that was tacked on years ago, but even with this "double lot," I still don't meet the 10,000 foot rule! From what I can tell, there's only one property owner in my neighborhood who would be allowed to own chickens. I'm feeling deflated. :(