Raising chickens, ducks in area city denied: Here’s why

Riverside Council turned down a proposal to let residents keep chickens and ducks on properties of an acre-and-a-half or less.

The vote on Thursday was five to two to reject an ordinance revision.

Current law allowing residents with an acre and a half or more to have chickens and ducks on their properties will stay in effect.

Three community members voiced concerns about code enforcement, health hazards and cleanliness of properties at the June 6 meeting.

“If my neighbors are going to have chickens and they don’t take good care of (them) and keep it clean,” said Sally McCarthy, “I don’t know if I want to live next door to that.”

Jan Pitzer, another Riverside resident, cited the Centers for Disease Control’s concerns regarding the potential health hazards of housing chickens in densely populated urban areas.

A current CDC alert on its website describes a multistate outbreak of salmonella infections linked to backyard poultry. The CDC recommends hand washing after handling poultry.

Pitzer also voiced other enforcement concerns. “We do not have the resources in Riverside (to) handle code enforcement now,” Pitzer said. “Who is going to handle the permits, measure the properties?”

Some members of council voiced similar concerns and asked if changing the ordinance could keep people form moving to Riverside.

“Enabling chickens and ducks requires additional zoning code enforcement items — I could go through a list of things that need to be addressed,” council member Ken Curp said. “Why would council want to approve legislation that requires additional code enforcement efforts it can’t provide because it does not have the time available, doesn’t have the budget money available and won’t have it next year?”

The only votes to approve the ordinance change were from Deputy Mayor Mike Denning and Mayor Bill Flaute. All other council members voted against approval.


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