Residents in Some Borough Areas Strive for Right to Keep Chickens

logo-w-sunburstKayla Desroches/KMXT

Chickens and chicken coops are common in the backyards of Kodiak residents both in the borough and within city limits, but they’re also against borough code in some areas.

The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly addressed that issue at its regular meeting last night. According to the meeting packet, keeping chickens falls under the umbrella of ‘agricultural activities’ which are not allowed in certain districts. Residents have protested that prohibition at past meetings, online, and through the Kodiak Daily Mirror.

Assemblyman Kyle Crow proposed a moratorium which appeared under ordinances for introduction at the regular meeting. It would put a hold on enforcing the code while the Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed the restrictions on chickens and other “animals useful to people”.

Crow touched on the continued ban of roosters in certain districts, which the moratorium does not affect due to the possible sound disturbance.

“I’ve talked to some residents who have said we leave our roosters in until after it gets light or something like that, and that they don’t make noises, and so I think if a resident is able to do that and manage their livestock or poultry in that manner, then there is no problem.”

According to the meeting packet, the borough code review and any changes must be completed within 18 months. Assemblyman Larry LeDoux asked why such a seemingly simple process would take so long, and Community Development Director Sarah Mason explained how the review is more complex than immediately apparent.

“There are a lot of considerations that don’t have anything to do with land use, like rats and bears and noxious odors and things like that, so aside from the land use policy which there’s a million ways to regulate chickens, we have the animal control issues to deal with as well, and we’ll have to work with the city on that too, because they’re the ones that enforce our animal control regulations.”

Assemblywoman Rebecca Skinner asked that the topic be added to the assembly’s upcoming joint meeting with the Planning and Zoning Commission, and the moratorium carried.

Also at the regular meeting Thursday, the assembly passed its nonprofit funding with a total funding amount of $267,300, down from the fiscal year 2016 amount of $390,000.

This year left the a few nonprofits without borough financial support, which includes, but is not limited to, the Humane Society of Kodiak, the Kodiak Soil & Water Conservation District, and Threshold Services.

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