City Hall

Citrus Heights staff report: new backyard hen policy is ‘doing great’

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

Sentinel staff report–
It’s been one year since Citrus Heights legalized keeping backyard hens on smaller sized residential lots, and city staff report that the new regulations are working out fine.

“Chickens are doing great,” Alison Bermudez with the city’s planning division, reported to the city council during a brief Nov. 9 report. “A year ago you did adopt the zoning code amendment that allowed them, and our complaints have actually gone down. Code enforcement’s been very pleased and has not been inundated with phone calls, so I think we got it right.”

Citrus Heights council members voted 5-0 in favor of dropping the prior restriction on backyard hen-keeping on Aug. 11, 2016, following persistent requests from some residents in the city. Prior regulations banned hens from being kept on residential lots under 10,000 square feet in size, but the new ordinance allows up to six hens to be kept on any size single-family residential lot.

Roosters were unaffected by the ordinance change and are still only allowed to be kept on lots over 20,000 square feet in size.

About a half-dozen speakers addressed the city council during last year’s hearing, all of whom expressed support for dropping the restriction on hen-keeping. No one spoke in opposition to the proposal.

The council had requested a staff report to be made after 12 months of adopting the policy in order to ensure the new regulations were not causing any unintended problems.

Additional standards for hen-keeping are also included in the new regulations and address noise, coop design and setback, containment and maintenance. The city’s full zoning code related to animal keeping and backyard hens can be read by clicking here.