Kennewick OKs rule to allow chickens

By Kristi Pihl, Tri-City HeraldJanuary 22, 2014 

chickens chicken kennewick urban city

Chickens hunt and peck for food on Tuesday along West Quinault Avenue near Canal Drive in Kennewick.

KAI-HUEI YAU — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

The Kennewick City Council unanimously approved an amendment to city code that allows Kennewick residents to own chickens.

It's a change that the city was asked to consider by some residents who wanted to be able to raise hens, said Evelyn Lusignan, the city's customer service manager.

"You may now have chickens," Mayor Steve Young said after the vote earlier this week.

Kennewick residents who live on property zoned "residential low density" can own hens, according to city documents. The cities of Richland and Pasco also allow this. Roosters are not allowed in any of the three cities.

The Kennewick city code already allowed hens in the residential suburban zoning district.

But Lusignan said more homes are in residential low-density areas, expanding the opportunity for residents to own hens.

Keeping hens for eggs has become more popular with urban farming and food raising, according to city documents.

City Councilman John Trumbo said his daughter raises chickens for eggs, since they live on an agricultural property that was annexed into the city limits. The agricultural use, as long as it is continuous, is grandfathered in.

Kennewick residents now are allowed to have up to six total animals, including chickens, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, pigeons and other small animals. They can own no more than three of each kind.

In Richland, chickens are included with other household pets such as dogs and cats, and residents are limited to no more than five household pets total, according to city documents. Pasco generally limits hens in residential areas to no more than three.

Chicken coops must be clean and sanitary and meet setback requirements, according to city code. That means they must be at least five feet away from the boundary of the side and back yards and at least 15 feet back from the sidewalk of the front yard, Lusignan said.

Chickens will need to be kept on the owner's property, said Greg McCormick, the city's planning director. They can't run loose.

If there is a problem, such as the chickens leaving the owner's property, it would become a code enforcement action, he said.

-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com

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