Zoning changes could relax rules for some neighborhoods

Zoning changes could relax rules for some neighborhoods

Chicken nestingFresh eggs for breakfast? A newly plucked chicken for dinner? Who wouldn’t love that? One small problem: If you live in Chandler, zoning regulations rule out the idea of residents raising farmyard fowl in their back yards.
That may be about to change, at least in some neighborhoods.
The city is considering an amendment to its zoning code that would broaden the poultry-friendly laws for residents living in certain single family dwellings.
Currently, according to city spokesman Jim Phipps, only those living in areas zoned AG-1 (agricultural) and SF-33 (single family with a minimum lot size of 33,000 square feet) are permitted to raise chickens.
The new proposal would extend the necessary permission to lots that have a single-family dwelling regardless of lot size.
Although city dwellers probably don’t think much about raising chickens at home, it’s apparently a more common pursuit than we might have thought.
A number of Valley neighborhoods, including those in the east Valley communities of Tempe, Gilbert, Scottsdale and Mesa, seem to have addressed the issue of homegrown chickens long ago.
Now, in Chandler, the newly proposed code amendment would allow residents to keep up to five hens. However, it prohibits roosters and establishes setbacks for coops, also including requirements dealing with maintenance that are aimed at preventing the chickens from becoming a nuisance.
The proposed changes, including the maximum number of chickens, would not apply to properties zoned AG-1 and SF-33, which would be unaffected.
According to Phipps, if Chandler’s zoning code were amended as proposed, residents living within the confines of homeowner associations would still need to comply with their association’s CC&Rs. Many HOAs prohibit raising, breeding or keeping poultry and other animals that are not considered to be common household pets.
As of now, city officials estimate that 82 percent of all single family lots in Chandler are located within HOAs.
Thus, even with proposed changes, the city’s chicken-rearing regulations may affect fewer than 20 percent of Chandler’s single family properties, most of which are located around the older parts of town—north of the 202 freeway and east of the Price/101 freeway.
The initiative to allow chickens began last year when a number of residents asked the City Council to amend the City Code to permit them to raise chickens.
Staff surveyed other Valley cities and found that most cities allow residents to keep chickens, although each community differs on how it regulates the issue.
A draft copy of Chandler’s proposed code amendment can be viewed online at www.chandleraz.gov/zoningcodeamendments.
Questions or comments can be directed to Principal Planner David de la Torre at david.delatorre@chandleraz.gov or 480-782-3059. Interested residents also are encouraged to attend a public hearingat 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, to provide their input.

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