The Sonora Planning Commission will meet Monday to vote on a proposed ordinance that would allow city residents to keep a limited number of chickens, rabbits or other farm animals on their property.
Current municipal codes don’t allow residents to keep livestock in most of the city’s residential zones, but the proposed ordinance would amend the city’s General Plan making it legal to keep a certain number of animals depending on property size.
For example, parcels under a half-acre in size would only be allowed to keep a maximum of three small, non-hoofed animals such as chickens and rabbits. But up to six small, non-hoofed animals would be allowed on parcels from 0.50 to 0.74 acres, and up to nine could be kept on parcels from 0.75 to 0.99 acres.
All parcels one-acre or larger could have one large, hoofed animal per acre or 12 small, non-hoofed animals per acre, with a maximum limit of 24 small, non-hoofed animals per parcel.
The ordinance also outlines the rules of livestock-keeping within city limits, which includes standards for public health and safety, animal housing and slaughtering.
All slaughtering would have to be conducted indoors and any meat produced could not be used or sold for commercial purposes. Eggs could be sold, but only from the parcel where they’re produced.
Roosters are strictly prohibited.
The issue of chicken-keeping was first discussed at a planning commission meeting last October after city staff received a number of requests from residents.
Several of those residents attended the meeting to speak in support of modifying the city’s municipal codes to allow the practice. Some made suggestions that a proposed ordinance should also include provisions regulating the keeping of small farm animals other than chickens.
Planning commissioners raised concerns regarding noise, sanitation and enforcement should the practice become a nuisance to neighbors, but most said they were generally supportive of the idea.
If approved by the Planning Commission on Monday, the proposed ordinance would go to the Sonora City Council at a future meeting before it could go into effect.
At Monday’s meeting, the commission will also vote on approving a conditional use permit application to the owners of the new restaurant House of Soup for two in-lieu parking spaces.
The restaurant, at 185 S. Washington St., will feature a stage, dining area and pool table on the first floor with two more pool tables and an office on the second, according to meeting documents.
PUBLIC MEETING: The Sonora Planning Commission meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday, City Hall, 94 N. Washington St., Sonora.