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Staff propose relaxing regs on keeping chickens in Citrus Heights

Chickens, hens, birds, eggs
File photo, chickens. // CH Sentinel

Updated April 16, 10:15 a.m.–
The Citrus Heights planning division is seeking community feedback on draft wording of a proposal that would allow chickens to be kept on residential lots of any size in Citrus Heights. Currently, chickens can only be kept on lots larger than 10,000 square feet.

According to a planning division email sent out last week to neighborhood associations and others, the proposal was made in response to “numerous requests from the community who have written, emailed, and called the city council to express their desire to raise chickens,” primarily for eggs.

Alison Bermudez, an associate planner with the City of Citrus Heights, told The Sentinel community feedback is currently being sought on the proposal and said comments from the public can be submitted to, or by phone at (916) 727-4740.

As currently drafted, the short revision would add just over 100 words to Title 106 of the Citrus Heights Municipal Code, a section dealing with small animal keeping.

The City’s current zoning code only allows for noncommercial animals under 75 pounds to be kept on lots that are a minimum of 10,000 square feet in size, with the exception of pets.

Proposed changes would create an exception to the lot size rule for chickens, as long as they have a clean coop or cage that is located at least five feet from rear or side property lines and 20 feet from a neighboring habitable structure. Free range chickens would only be allowed if a 40-foot buffer “is maintained from any neighboring property line.”

Rooster regulations remain unchanged in the draft wording and still require a minimum 20,000 square foot lot size to be kept in most residential areas. Existing regulations regarding odors, vector control, and other nuisances would also still apply, according to the current draft wording.

Bermudez said the current wording is “subject to change depending on feedback from the community, agencies, and the planning commission.”

Do you support the chicken-keeping proposal? Post a comment on our Facebook page.

Revisions are expected to be presented to the city council this June, pending a public hearing and approval from the planning commission.

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Actual draft wording of revisions to municipal code 106.42.030, with revisions in red:

B.(2) Small animal keeping. The minimum site area for the noncommercial keeping of small animals with a weight less than 75 pounds at maturity, other than pets, as an incidental use, shall be 10,000 square feet. Except chickens may be kept on any size lot subject to the standards listed in 106.42.030.G and roosters shall be allowed only on a site of 20,000 square feet or larger, or within an RD-1 or RD-2 zoning district.

G. Chicken Keeping standards. Chickens keeping shall comply with the following requirements.
1. Minimum site area. Chickens may be kept on any size lot within a residential district.
2. Containment. Chickens shall be confined to a clean coop or cage which is no less than five feet from a side or rear property line and 20 feet from a neighboring habitable structure. Chickens may roam the property as long as a forty foot buffer is maintained from any neighboring property line through the use of fences, walls, or similar barrier.

Link to full draft document:

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