LAYTON -- Chickens will be able to call more neighborhoods home. But just by a tail. And only then under special restrictions.
The Layton City Council, after months of deliberation, by a 3-2 vote Thursday approved backyard chickens for those residents with a 14,000-square-foot or larger lot.
Councilman Michael Bouwhuis insisted on the larger lots to prevent backyard chicken coops from being on top of their next-door neighbor.
In addition, those raising chickens will need to receive from the city an annual $30 backyard chicken permit, the revenues to be used to balance any animal-related enforcement cost that may occur, Bouwhuis said.
The alternatives introduced by Bouwhuis, supported by Councilman Scott Freitag and Councilman Barry Flitton, also restricted those raising chickens from slaughtering the fowl in public.
Initially Freitag and Councilman Renny Knowlton were in support of the city's planning commission recommendations that would have allowed chickens on lots as small as 6,000 square feet.
"I believe the provisions presented by the planning commission are reasonable," Freitag said. But when neither Freitag nor Knowlton could find support from the remaining council members, Freitag supported Bouwhuis' alternative conditions.
Councilwoman Joyce Brown, from the onset of the discussion, voiced her opposition to amending the city's zoning ordinance to allow chickens to be raised in more neighborhoods.
The city's existing ordinance before Thursday allowed residential chickens in the agricultural zone and the residential suburban zone.
Brown said people who have built in residential areas do not want farm animals as neighbors.
"Whether chickens are a small animal or not, they are still a farm animal," she said.
The city council for months has been wrestling with the chicken issue.
Mayor Steve Curtis said the backyard chicken debate has taken time for the council to resolve because the city's planning commission, by a 5-1 vote, recommended the council allow for six hens in the more traditional residential zones, while staff discouraged such action.
It is seldom the planning commission members and staff are not in agreement on an issue, Curtis said.
Staff voiced concern that opening the door to chickens may open the door in the future to pigeons and bees.
About 25 residents a month ago during a public hearing requested the council allow backyard chickens in all traditional neighborhoods based on hens egg-laying capabilities and because of the education and responsibility raising chickens can provide to youngsters.