Simi Valley Council: A Wrong has been righted–Chickens rejoice!

By Debra Tash

At the July 21st 2014  Council Meeting a very articulate teen named Hannah Nandoor spoke during Public Comments.  You can find her comments at the 29 minute mark on the video of that meeting if you go the Simi website: HERE She wanted to do a 4H project and she choose one of the less noxious animals to raise, chickens.

As previously written in Simi Valley and the Urban Chicken there wasn’t an outright ban to raise the birds inside the city limits.  However, where you could raise them was definitely limited.  Hannah wanted to see a change in the city’s codes to allow up to six hens can be kept in single family home neighborhoods.

Apparently Hannah had some pull in high places, or maybe her proposal just made sense.  The Council directed staff to move forward with a revised ordinance to include the raising of chickens in residential zones.  Off Hannah’s idea went, pondered by staff and presented to the Planning Commission three times.  Yes, you got that right, it took them three passes to get to that sweet spot at their December 17th meeting where the change could be made without having to go through the CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) process.  Actually they debated the inclusion of members of other non-profit groups being allowed to keep up to six hens.  It took continuing the matter two times to have staff come up with the right language.  One commissioner dissented stating that he felt everyone should be able to keep up to six hens at their single family home…something akin to a fair housing act for chickens.   But the Planning Commission passed the revision with only members of recognized non-profits, or for an educational project, allowed to keep those hens.

The Council considered Z-S-716 at their January 12th meeting.  The ordinance would allow up to six hens on single-family properties in conjunction with an educational program and a determination that the project is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

The “Simian” (resident of Simi Valley aka a Valley person) would have to obtain a Zoning Clearance by submitting a site plan and shelling out (excuse the pun) $56 (no fees for the yearly renewal) and their single family resident lot must be 8000 feet or larger.

Hannah spoke at the Council hearing on the ordinance.  She said: “4H is a great learning experience.”  Keith Mashburn asked her about the number of birds, why six?  Hannah informed the councilmember that it’s just a good number for showing at the County Fair, if one dies you have enough to maintain a pecking order and they can have friends. (Note, I keep chickens, they really don’t need friends, and they barely tolerate their owners)

Mayor Huber asked the 4H’er if one would need a rooster to get the hens to lay eggs (a common urbanite question, by the way).  Hannah assured him that you don’t need a rooster to get them to lay.  Huber was definitely against roosters, like most of the civilized world.

Councilmember Glenn Becerra commended Hannah’s efforts.  This was the first reading, but it’s a shoe in for passage with the unanimous vote the measure garnered at the January 12th meeting.

Chicken Coop from William Sonoma, does not include carpeting

Chicken Coop from William Sonoma, does not include carpeting

Now that this wrong, or maybe just an oversight, or maybe a wrong, probably a wrong, is on its way to being corrected, the citizens of Simi Valley can start shopping for designer chicken coops.  You think I jest, nay, seriously, you can find them on William Sonoma:  William Sonoma Designer Chicken Coops  But be advised, you can only have one in your backyard if you are a member of a recognized non-profit, doing something educational or you have neighbors who can be bought off for the price a few fresh eggs.

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Debra Tash is Editor-in-Chief of Citizensjournal.us, past president for Citizens Alliance for Property Rights, business executive and award-winning author, residing in Somis.

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