Clearwater County considers urban chickens

Public hearing on urban chickens set for June 13 at Clearwater County office

Clearwater County’s proposed urban chicken bylaw leaves some areas off limits so the fowl don’t tempt hungry predators.

A bylaw going to a public hearing on June 13 proposes that urban chickens not be allowed in multi-lot subdivisions in or west of Range 9, which is about 20 km west of Rocky Mountain House.

County planner Dustin Bisson said their agricultural services department recommended that proviso.

“Really, once you get past Range 9 there was some concern from them regarding wildlife, bears, cougars, things like that coming in, with the chickens being a draw.”

The developments of Horburg and Misty Valley would be affected by the restriction.

A request to raise chickens from a resident in the Hamlet of Withrow prompted county staff to consider rules and regulations for raising chickens on residential properties.

The proposed bylaw would cover Withrow and the hamlets of Alhambra, Condor and Leslieville as well as multi-lot subdivisions zoned country residential, which is most of them.

Extending urban chickens to country residential-zoned areas was proposed by council during a debate last month. However, administration has tweaked that provision so that multi-lot subdivisions with restrictive covenants that do not allow for raising fowl or livestock.

The bylaw also makes it clear what chicken owners are expected to do with the waste their feathered friends create. It most be disposed of in an “environmentally friendly” manner, says the bylaw.

“That was one of our councillor’s concerns so we added that clause,” said Bisson.

Under the proposed bylaw, hamlet landowners would be limited to six hens per property and required to get a bi-annual licence. Regulations on the size and location of coops and runs and other issues are included.

A public hearing is not required under the Municipal Government Act, but the county decided it was best to get more public input “due to the nature of the bylaw and the number of landowners throughout the county that this bylaw would affect.”

The hearing takes place at county council chambers at 11 a.m.

Rocky Mountain House and Red Deer are among communities which have already taken the step to regulate urban chickens. Lacombe is in the middle of one-year pilot project to see if urban chickens are wanted.

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