LAYTON -- Allowing residential chickens to be raised in the backyards of Layton neighborhoods is an idea still waiting to hatch.
And it is likely, according to city officials, that type of chicken-talk won't take flight until sometime next year in order to give the city council the time it needs to create an ordinance protecting everyone involved.
The planning commission has recommended approval of an ordinance change that would allow for residents on 1-acre lots to have up to six backyard chickens, City Planner Peter Matson said.
The city's current zoning ordinance allows chickens in only the residential suburban and agricultural zones, Matson said.
But before council members adopt such an ordinance change, Matson said, they want to be able to understand all of its ramifications.
Matson said he suspects the council will first discuss the proposed ordinance change in a work meeting, before addressing it in a full-fledged public hearing.
City staff remains uncertain when that discussion will occur. "To be honest with you, I don't know when," Matson said.
With the holidays approaching, the likelihood is that the council's decision on how to address the backyard chicken issue will remain on hold until the first of next year, Matson said.
"The council is going to have to decide when and how to proceed on this," he said.
"The staff is ready to go when the council is," Matson said.
Although there are residents who support the idea of being able to have backyard chickens, based on the concept of "sustainability" regarding where hens lay eggs, adding chickens to additional city zones has been a city-initiated proposal, officials say.
The city has done research and has talked with other cities with a similar suburban makeup, Matson said. Although, he admits, there is likely "to some degree" some chicken-raising already being done in the city's residential zones that the county animal control is not aware of.
The city doesn't generally receive complaints about those raising chickens unless it involves a rooster because of the noise associated with the fowl, Matson said.
Mayor Steve Curtis said his sense is that elected leaders are amenable to let people have chickens if that is what they want. But some type of restrictions are needed, Curtis said, to prevent people from abusing the opportunity to have chickens.
"There has to be limitations," he said.
And based on that, the council may need more time.
Delaying it until next year will also give Councilman-elect Barry Flitton an opportunity to weigh in on the issue, he said.
Curtis said it appears it is not the hens but the roosters that can serve as a distraction for neighbors.
Some cities have opened up backyard chickens to all zoning jurisdictions, Matson said, which may be "too broad of a brush" in addressing changes for Layton.