The Town of Comox will listen to what its residents have to say about raising chickens within the town.
A public hearing is set for Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. at D’Esterre House to hear input about a bylaw that could see residents with a minimum lot size of 1,500 m2 be allowed up to six hens on their property.
According to a report by Marvin Kamenz, the director of development services for the town, between 2009 and 2021, the town received five complaints regarding chickens within the municipality. The complaints were regarding small numbers of chickens on five separate properties due to noise, odours and chicken coops being too close to a property line.
He added three of the five complaints were resolved by enforcement of bylaws.
At the Oct. 6 council meeting, Coun. Stephanie McGowan noted the 1,500 m2 parcel size “is huge” and could limit about 80 per cent of possible residents who would like to raise hens on their property.
“You can still keep chickens poorly on a larger lot,” she added and asked staff how they came to determine the size of a large lot.
“At some level, we worked with the direction we had from council,” explained Jordan Wall, chief administrative officer for the town.
McGown proposed a bylaw for first and second reading to allow hens on lots greater or equal to 650 m2 which did not pass, and again on lots greater or equal to 1,000 m2, which also failed to pass.
Following an inquiry from Coun. Alex Bissinger about reevaluating the lot size if the bylaw passes after a year, Wall noted it is easier to start a bylaw with more restrictive properties and add to it in the future to be more inclusive.
A motion for first and second reading to allow hens on lots 1,500m2 or larger within the town passed with Couns. McGowan, Bissinger, Nicole Minions and Mayor Russ Arnott voting in favour, and Couns. Ken Grant and Maureen Swift voting in opposition.