BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -
Currently the city of Bakersfield does not allow for backyard chickens in urban single family neighborhoods but held a meeting Monday to consider changing that.
Last year code enforcement handled 36 complaints about backyard chickens.
This year there have been 35 complaints.
City officials are considering an ordinance that would allow for backyard chickens in urban single family neighborhoods either by permit or by right.
"Which means you can do it by not having to come to the city to get a permit or approval," said community development director Douglas McIsaac.
A new ordinance could also limit the number of chickens.
City officials voiced concerns over noise, odor, insects and diseases from chickens.
Chicken owners disputed those arguments.
"Since chickens live in a confined area, they're not exposed to diseases, whereas wild birds move from place to place spreading them around," said chicken owner Linda Snoddy.
Snoddy said barking dogs are far noisier and create more odor emitting waste than chickens.
After listening to residents, legislative and litigation committee members offered their opinions on whether to change the city ordinance.
"I would like to see something by permit," said councilman Rudy Salas.
"The direction I am interested in going is by right. I'd like to give people the opportunity to have that legal protection," said councilwoman Sue Benham.
"I can go either way on this," said councilwoman Jacqui Sullivan.
The next step is for city staff to draft an ordinance proposal, conduct more meetings and present it to city council.