JUST ASK: Chickens? In THIS city? Not yet…

Ask us a question about just about anything and we’ll do our best to answer it, or find the people who can. Just Ask is a recurring Keizertimes feature. We’ve gotten a few questions lately about The State of the Urban Chicken here in Keizer. What with all the feathers that flew in a similar debate in Salem (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun), a natural thing to wonder. Connie Roth-Ames asks us via Facebook: “With all the talk about chickens in back yards in Salem, are Keizer residents allowed to have chickens in their backyards?” Connie, the short answer is it depends on where you live in Keizer, but probably not. Chickens are allowed in three zones under Keizer’s development code: Exclusive Farm Use (EFU), Urban Transition (UT) and Agriculture Industrial (AI). There’s not a specific ban on chickens in other areas of town. It’s that keeping chickens is considered a farm use according to City Attorney Shannon Johnson. “We’ve taken the position … that chickens would probably be a farming practice and probably wouldn’t be allowed in most zones except the agricultural zones,” Johnson told us in 2009. That doesn’t necessarily mean residents aren’t keeping them illicitly. We’ve been told there are already a few backyard coops in town. Kevin Watson, who is Keizer’s assistant to the city manager, said he hasn’t heard the outcry for chickens in Keizer...

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