Pasco council OKs chickens, rabbits as pets

Amelia Larson and her four children will get the chance to raise chickens at their Pasco home.

The Pasco City Council approved her request Monday to add chickens and rabbits as household pets in a 4-3 vote.

Chickens were allowed only in Pasco's residential suburban zones but not residential zones, which have smaller lots.

With the change, families can own up to three chickens in residential zones, with the total of chickens, rabbits, dogs and cats capped at six for a single family home on a lot 5,000 square feet or larger.

Richland and West Richland include chickens among household pets, while Kennewick allows chickens in residential suburban zones but not other residential zones, unless the property was annexed into the city with the use grandfathered in.

Pasco Councilman Al Yenney said he has seen a lot of support for the change.

But Councilman Mike Garrison, who voted against the change along with Mayor Matt Watkins and Councilman Saul Martinez, said some residents in his district are concerned about allowing chickens. He asked that the council review the change in a year.

Councilman Bob Hoffmann said he would like to amend the ordinance so that the 10-foot setback from all property lines for the chicken coop be lowered to 5 feet on the back of the property only when the property is along an alley.

That's a change that can be made after a public hearing in January or February, said City Manager Gary Crutchfield.

Coops and hutches will be limited to no more than 30 square feet and a height of 6 feet, said Rick White, city community and economic development director. The coops and hutches must be in back yards.

Also Monday:

-- The council passed the 2012 operating budget in a 6-1 vote and the capital budget in a 5-2 vote.

Hoffmann opposed both and Councilman Tom Larsen voted against the capital budget.

The $36.1 million operating budget maintains services. The capital budget is $13.2 million for new projects and additional funding of ongoing projects.