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Proposed Galt hen ordinance unhatched

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Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:48 am, Wed Sep 19, 2012.

Galtonians will not be permitted to keep egg-laying chickens in city limits, the Galt City Council decided Tuesday by not taking action on a proposed ordinance.

Councilman Mark Crews originally brought the idea forward at the request of a constituent, and it was first discussed last spring. At the time, the city council appeared split on the idea, but no vote was taken.

If approved, Galt residents would have been allowed to keep up to four hens in pens, coops or other enclosures at least 20 feet from any nearby residence. Roosters would not have been allowed.

Last month, the proposal went before the Planning Commission since it involved land zoning changes, but was sent back to council members with a recommendation to deny.

"We have a Planning Commission that we have appointed, and we asked them for their advice ... I believe we should follow their advice," Mayor Barbara Payne said, before adding that she could not support the ordinance.

Public members who attended Tuesday's meeting were also against the proposal.

One speaker voiced concerns that the city's lone animal enforcement officer could be overtaxed enforcing such an ordinance. Another said she is allergic to chickens, and if her neighbors were to keep them she would not be able to use her backyard.

"We have other issues that are more important than that," Diane Kannenberg said.

Both Payne and Vice Mayor Marylou Powers said Tuesday they had been contacted by residents ranging from their neighbors to fellow church attendees, and most were against the proposal.

Lodi city ordinance allows up to three hens so long as their eggs are used primarily for home consumption and not for commercial purposes. The rule has been on the books since at least 1979.

Sacramento founded its chicken ordinance last fall, but requires a permit for keeping poultry.

Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at jenniferb@lodinews.com.

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