Murrieta: A local advocate group called "The Backyard Chicken Keepers" flocked to city hall on Dec. 6 to hear the new ordinance allowing Murrieta residents to have backyard chickens. This group of women has been lobbying since early 2016 to have city officials draft new rules to allow the raising of chickens in tract housing.
On Oct. 18, they brought members of the Murrieta Mustangs 4-H Club, parents and chicken owners from surrounding communities to advocate on their behalf. However, they had to wait till the issue went before the planning commission in November before city council could make a final review and ruling on the proposed changes to the city ordinance.
Members of Murrieta’s city council voted unanimously to change the city ordinance to permit the fowl. Chicken owner and one of the lead lobbyists, Nancy Phillips was thrilled to see her group could make a change. When Phillips and her fellow advocates began their journey they weren’t well informed on how to get their voices heard in local government and be taken seriously.
Throughout the past year, the group met with city council members, asked questions and did their research to address all the concerns coming from city staff.
Under the new rules, Murrieta residents are allowed up to four chickens on single-family parcels ranging in size from 7,200 square feet to 21,779 square feet. They can own up to two dozen chickens on larger parcels ranging from 21,780 square feet to an acre. The planning commission at an earlier meeting agreed with chicken advocates to have the lot sized lowered closer to 6,000 square feet but city council preferred the 7,200 square foot lot size. The new city codes will prohibit roosters since they are loud, the chickens cannot be slaughtered and residents are prohibited to have fowl for commercial operations.
Residents who would like to own their own chickens may want to pick up a copy of the new ordinance from city hall and learn about the property lines and maintenance regulations. The new rules scratch out ways to help avoid issues with other animals and possible chicken coop odor.
LOCAL CHICKEN LAWS
Temecula: maximum of four chickens on lots up to 7,200 sft or more and up to 50 on lots one-acre or larger
Hemet: maximum of four chickens on lots up to 7,200 sft or more
Menifee: up to four chickens on residential lots
Wildomar: maximum of four chickens on lots up to 7,200 sft or more in the R-1 zone.