Chickens swoop into proposed bylaw changes
Major changes to the city’s Animal Control Bylaw could mean fewer dogs and cats in country residential areas, but more chickens throughout the city.
Major changes to the city’s Animal Control Bylaw could mean fewer dogs and cats in country
residential areas, but more chickens throughout the city.
City planning manager Mike Gau produced the suggested amendments to the bylaw at Tueday evening’s council meeting.
The changes propose that back yard chickens be permitted through an application process.
They also propose that a limit of six dogs or cats with a special permit or four without a permit be allowed on a per lot basis rather than a per dwelling basis.
As Gau explained, the changes are coming forward after consultation was done on the zoning bylaw rewrite.
Promoting local food production – including back yard hens – was part of the Official Community Plan, so it came forward in the Zoning Bylaw rewrite.
“However, the Zoning Bylaw typically regulates development, structures and land use, not animals,” Gau stated in his report to council.
“Therefore, administration is proposing to amend the Animal Control Bylaw.”
During the rewrite of the Zoning Bylaw, a questionnaire found 64.2 per cent of respondents supported permitting residents to have back yard chickens, with the remainder opposed.
However, those wanting to keep the hens would need the support of their neighbours.
Within the application process, property owners within 10 metres would be notified of the application and could voice their opposition.
That had Coun. Dave Stockdale wondering what would happen in cases where two of four neighbours, for example, said they didn’t want a coop.
While planner Mike Ellis said he would have to talk to the bylaw department about that scenario, he also noted he understands it’s necessarily straightforward when it comes to such opposition.
Both Stockdale and Coun. Dave Austin said they would like to see a clear process outlined, similar to other processes in the city. Under those scenarios, if 51 per cent of neighbouring property owners are opposed to a development, the project doesn’t go ahead.
The proposed bylaw limits the number of chickens on a property to six.
It requires coops to be fully enclosed.
Hens could not be slaughtered on site. Manure would be stored in an enclosed structure with no more than three cubic feet kept at any one time “so long as the manure is not offensive to others.”
While the bylaw would permit officers to seize any chickens where the owners are not meeting the bylaw, Ellis said a warning would likely be issued before any action is taken, as is the case with other bylaws.
In rewriting the bylaw to accommodate the allowance for back yard chickens, staff also opted to deal with dogs and cats in country residential areas.
“This proposed amendment would change maximum number of dogs or cats allowed to be calculated by lot instead of by residence,” Gau stated in his report.
“Currently, the maximum number of dogs or cats per residence is six (with a special permit).
“As the zoning bylaw now allows for living and garden suites, it is appropriate to limit the number of animals per lot. Otherwise, there could be a situation where there are 12 animals on a given lot.”
Because the changes are tied to the Zoning Bylaw, it’s suggested the timeline follow the same as the Zoning Bylaw.
That would see first reading come forward for a vote next week with second and third readingd more than a month away on July 9.