Backyard chicken advocates. The MI Chicken Revolution team successfully partnered with the cities of Monmouth and Independence Oregon to legalize backyard hens! Special thanks to everyone who lent their hands and voice to this successful effort.
INDEPENDENCE -- A proposal for backyard hens in Independence would allow residents to have up to five birds.
It would also require would-be owners to pay for a permit and to prove some knowledge of how to care for chickens.
These are some of the provisions in an ordinance that the City Council will consider on Tuesday. Leaders discussed and tweaked some of the language in a draft of the law last week.
The ordinance is based heavily on rules already in place in Salem, Dundee, Hillsboro and other cities in the Willamette Valley that allow backyard hens, said City Recorder Karin Johnson.
"It also has some particular things that councilors had asked for," Johnson said.
* Up to five hens only, no roosters.
* A setback requirement of at least 20 feet from a neighboring residence.
* No retail sales of eggs from a residence and no butchering.
* A number of coop standards.
* Coops must be located in backyards, and will be subject to a number of standards.
* Owners must install suitable fencing to confine chickens to a property.
Councilors also opined that the law should be citywide across single-family residential zones; originally, the Independence airpark neighborhood was to be excluded.
Councilor Forrest Peck said that the exception was unnecessary as the airpark has CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions) with its two homeowner associations that prohibit poultry or livestock.
This would spare the police department from having to enforce the law on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis, Peck said. Chickens won't be allowed at apartment complexes.
The council will set permit fees by resolution if the ordinance passes. No amount has been decided upon, though $40 -- to have up to five birds -- was one suggestion.
The exam or chicken husbandry knowledge was a prerequisite requested by the council.
Johnson said a person could show proof they've completed an Extension Service class or attended a workshop on backyard hens. Otherwise they'll have to take a short quiz included in a handbook given to permit applicants.
That book is being developed by the Monmouth-Independence Chicken Revolution, the group that has lobbied for legalizing hens during recent months.
"If you look through the book, you'll be able to answer the questions," Johnson said, adding, "I don't think it will be very time consuming for us to (correct) it."