Murrieta: A group that call themselves the "Backyard Chicken Keepers" and members of the Murrieta Mustangs 4-H Club flocked to the Oct. 18, Murrieta city council meeting. The group has been fighting since last winter to have city officials draft an ordinance to allow chickens in tract housing.
Fowl are currently allowed in rural residential lots of half an acre or more in Murrieta. In May, the city council held a public discussion on revising city ordinances. The "Backyard Chicken Keepers" felt it was time to cluck a little louder and remind city council of their objective.
The chicken advocates brought students from the local 4-H club and their parents to help ruffle feathers. The students came in holding signs and cartons of fresh eggs wrapped in bows.
A few members of the 4-H club, some as young as age seven addressed council during public comments, to express their desire to have chickens for pets.
The children told council that they felt the same way about their feathered friends as those who have dogs or cats. One child broke down in tears telling council her chicken makes her happy, she loves it and it is her best friend.
Sarah Quintana, a mother and chicken owner said, “Chickens are very therapeutic animals. My mom who has dementia benefits from having pet chickens and my children are also learning responsibility by taking care of them.”
“City code already allows residents to keep a pot belly pig in their yard, so why not chickens,” wrote Jessica Walker on an online petition advocating for chickens as pets in Murrieta.
Ivan Holler, the Development Services Director for the city of Murrieta met with the Backyard Chicken Keepers after the public comments. Holler told the group the city plans to make changes to the ordinances to allow chickens in tract housing but it first has to go through the planning commission.
“We hope to have this item on the city council agenda by November or in early December,” said Holler. “We are looking at allowing homes with a lot size between 7,200 and 10,000 square feet or larger to be permitted to have chickens.”
Holler said city officials have looked into the ordinances for chickens in surrounding communities.
The public can track when the item is placed before the planning commission or city council by logging onto the city website:
Chicken Proverb: “The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.” - unknown
Photography Credit: Michelle Mears-Gerst
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