Of the Keizertimes

Planning commissioners last week recommended allowing residential care facilities in medium density areas and urban chickens on any single family home or duplex lot.

The Keizer City Council will consider both proposals at its June 20 meeting.

On chickens, no roosters would be allowed, and the commission’s recommendation includes requiring prospective owners get a free, one-time permit. The commission also recommended a three-year sunset clause, requiring a coop and a 10-foot setback from adjacent properties. Three hens would be allowed per lot.

Only two people came to testify on urban chickens, one opposing and one in support.

Bill White, who joked he might become known as the “chicken grinch,” said allowing the animals in expanded areas of the city would put another burden on a cash-strapped city government.

“I’m expecting if we do allow chickens there will be problems, jumping to conclusions, like you can make money off of it,” White said.

Scott Mack said he doesn’t think budget concerns are valid.

“There’s really not a lot of nuisance from a well cared-for pet,” Mack said.

Planning Commission John Rizzo pushed for the one-time permit, saying there needed to be some recourse for chicken owners who let coops get too dirty or are otherwise irresponsible poultry owners.

And Jim Jacks said some sort of property line setback was appropriate.

“If (a coop) is in that spot for a very long period of time there’s going to be an accumulation of poop and I don’t want that coming into my property … just because the neighbor next door is an irresponsible chicken owner,” Jacks said.

Jonathan Thompson said a three-year sunset requirement would force future planners and city councilors to take a fresh look at the issue with experience to reflect upon.

“And if it turns out something’s wrong … this forces the issue,” Thompson said. “I’m uncomfortable allowing chickens. I’d be more comfortable knowing some future body had to review it.”

• Commissioners also voted to allow residential care facilities in the medium density zone.

Avamere Community of Companies is eyeing an 11-acre piece of land owned by St. Edward Catholic Church on River Road; its representatives asked the city late last year to look into allowing licensed assisted and memory care facilities in the medium residential zone.

City staff had initially proposed allowing a wider range of facilities in several other residential zones, but commissioners tightened that up.