Kenai City Council members will consider next month whether or not to allow residents to keep chickens on some city lots.
Legislation introduced by Kenai City Council member Alex Douthit would allow Kenai residents to keep up to 12 chicken hens on certain lots smaller than 40,000 square feet in most city zones. The City of Kenai would continue to prohibit livestock in the city’s Urban Residential, Suburban Residential 1, Suburban Residential 2 and Townsite Historic zones.
The legislation as proposed would require that hens be kept in an enclosed shelter or be fully fenced in at all times. Enclosed shelters would not be allowed in a front yard when located in a residential zoning district. Other setbacks are described. Any hen shelters or structures would need to be made of “durable weather resistant materials” and be kept in good repair.
Under the proposed legislation, chickens could only be slaughtered on the property if in an area not visible to the public or to adjoining properties. Hens would not be allowed to be kept in a way that creates a public nuisance as described by city code, however, keeping hens in and of itself does would not be considered a nuisance or disturbance.
The legislation comes as Alaska, like other states, is experiencing an egg shortage. Douthit wrote in a Dec. 29 memo to city council members that the legislation came about after residents “expressed an interest” in being able to keep hens on lots of less than 40,000 square feet.
Allowing chickens on more lots within the City of Kenai, he wrote, could promote food security.
“Residents have expressed an interest in keeping chicken hens on lots less than 40,000 square feet to provide a supply of fresh eggs,” Douthit wrote in his Dec. 29 memo. “The raising of chicken hens for their eggs helps to promote food security in our community.
As reported by the Anchorage Daily News, one of Alaska’s top egg suppliers, Oakdell, recently experienced a bird flu outbreak affecting more than 1 million chickens. That outbreak is contributing to egg shortages and price hikes in Alaska. As reported by KDLL, local egg suppliers are also seeing demand go up.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the average price of one dozen Grade A large eggs in the U.S. jumped to $4.25 in December 2022. That’s compared to $1.79 in December 2021 and $1.48 in December 2020.
Council members voted during their Jan. 4 meeting to refer the legislation to the Kenai Planning & Zoning Commission’s Jan. 25 meeting. The ordinance will be brought back before the city council for a public hearing on Feb. 1.
Kenai City Council meeting documents can be accessed on the city’s website at kenai.city.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at email@example.com.