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Would it be okay if an O.B. resident kept a couple chickens in their backyard? Rachel Hiner of the Urban Food Network posed that question last week at the monthly meeting of the Ocean Beach Planning Board. Hiner made a presentation that proposed a variance on current San Diego code.

Article 2, Section 42.0709 of San Diego’s municipal code says that as long as you keep your coop at least 50 feet from any residential structure, the law in San Diego allows for the keeping of up to 25 fowl. But for most houses (especially in O.B.), a distance of 50 feet from your neighbor’s house — and yours — may not be possible.

A movement is afoot in a few parts of the U.S. to reduce the legal distance to 20 feet from the nearest neighbor's house and no distance buffer to the owner's house — but that would be for a coop with five hens or less (no roosters).

Members of Urban Food Network and Urban Chickens have been making the rounds to community planning groups, armed with information touting the backyard hen as a green pet. Owners say chickens remove garden pests naturally, provide a family with wholesome protein (in the form of a near-daily egg) and promote self-reliance. And they're even cute.

“I could watch them scratch around and wiggle their butts for hours,” said Hiner, who owns three chickens at her Narragansett Avenue residence in Ocean Beach.

The planning board declined to take a position, preferring to let the information incubate until a later meeting.

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tarfu7 July 13, 2011 @ 7:09 a.m.

Grammar check - five hens or fewer.


Gail Powell July 13, 2011 @ 7:41 a.m.

This is so cool! I have seen some chicken scratching around at the Ob Community Garden. I think this may be the NEXT BIG SOCIAL ISSUE in O.B. Just say YES to chickens!


Gekko4321 July 13, 2011 @ 11:06 a.m.

Roosters going off at dawn all around ones home?? That's nuts!! Not in this day and age in a modern society.


Jane Belanger July 13, 2011 @ 12:35 p.m.

You prefer the noise of car alarms, and airplanes, and trash collectors?

I'll take the roosters, any day.


Gekko4321 July 13, 2011 @ 12:54 p.m.

I prefer none of those noises, but some things cannot be escaped in modern society like your examples. Roosters can be. Go live in the country if you want roosters! Why does my peace and quiet get disrupted for you to have a farm in a urban area? I am sure my barking dog would not be satisfactory to others, so why bring a guaranteed noise nuisance??


x76 July 13, 2011 @ 4:57 p.m.

A rooster is not a chicken. You only need a rooster if you want baby chicks. A chicken on its own will produce about an egg a day, rain or shine. I'd love to have a few chickens on hand, personally, but that 50' distance is absurd in this area, which was obviously the intention when that was written up.


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