Moments before Wednesday’s meeting of the Imperial Beach City Council — which would include a debate over allowing residents to own pet chickens — city manager Gary Brown brought out a bucket of fried chicken and placed it on the council desk, prompting a few clucks from the audience and members of the council.
Chickens are now one step closer to legally roosting in the City of Imperial Beach: on August 20, the city council voted 3-2 in favor of placing the chicken ordinance (which would allow residents to have up to three chickens as pets) on the October 15th agenda for an up or down vote.
Chicken-lovers will have to abide by a few rules: no roosters will be allowed in the coop, no foul odors, all chicks must be caged, no noise, and they will be allowed only in back yards.
Councilwoman Lorie Bragg was the first to speak on the potential ordinance: “This issue has — pardon the pun — ruffled a lot of feathers in the community. I used to own chickens, and I know they can be quite charming.”
Councilwoman Patricia McCoy agreed with Bragg: “When you’re talking about messy and noisy, I can point to some other things — like what goes on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons — that are way worse.”
Opposition did come from Councilman Fred McClean and Mayor Jim Janney. McClean didn’t understand what good would come from having chickens in the city and Mayor Janney had problems with the lot restrictions. Janney thinks the ordinance’s lot-size requirements to own the birds will encroach on neighbors and the community. He also feels the time required for the city’s animal-control and code-enforcement departments to regulate the chicken law will take away from more important duties.
Cluck through the links for the Imperial Beach website at ci.imperial-beach.ca.us.