By Andrea Swayne
The Dana Point Planning Commission on Dec. 8 voted to continue their discussion on whether to allow the keeping of chickens in Dana Point residential neighborhoods.
The commission voted 4-0—with Commissioner Gary Newkirk absent—to continue the topic to their Feb. 9 meeting and asked city staff to provide additional information regarding rules in other cities and what other types of poultry are allowed.
In July, the council received a staff report, prepared in response to public comments at previous meetings, and directed staff to look into revisions to the municipal code to allow for the keeping of poultry in residential neighborhoods. In September, the Planning Commission received a staff report and conducted a survey of other cities.
Of 20 cities surveyed, 15 allow poultry with specific requirements or through a permitting process.
San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Laguna Beach allow poultry with restrictions. Dana Point is one of only a few in Orange County that does not.
Based on the survey results, staff recommended a list of standards.
The proposed amendment includes requirements to allow no more than six hens per household, a coop and enclosure be provided and that it be set a minimum distance of 25 feet from any adjacent house. It also would require 5-foot setbacks from rear and side property lines and that birds not be allowed in front yards. Owners would also be required to keep clean and sanitary conditions in the coops/enclosures at all times. Roosters and outdoor slaughtering of birds would be prohibited.
If the Planning Commission votes to recommend changing the code to allow chickens, the matter will then be sent to the City Council for consideration.
The Planning Commission is also considering a Local Coastal Program Amendment as required when making changes to zoning ordinances. If the City Council decides to allow chickens, the LCPA must be submitted to the California Coastal Commission for approval.