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San Marino considers allowing residents to keep chickens

May 21, 2012 |  9:22 am


Pam King likes to grow her own food and to use resources wisely. She has solar panels on her San Marino house, a drought-resistant yard and a kind of urban farm.

Now she really wants chickens, except that she can't have them. The city known as the wealthiest, quietest suburban enclave in the San Gabriel Valley doesn't allow residents to keep farm animals, but that may soon change.

This month King asked the San Marino City Council to allow chickens on residential properties, and council members ordered a staff report.

Other cities, including Pasadena, South Pasadena and La Cañada Flintridge, already allow residents to keep fowl under strict guidelines.

In Pasadena the maximum number of chickens on a property is 10, and they cannot be kept within 50 feet of a property line. The city doesn't allow roosters more than 4 months old.

South Pasadena's rules are even less stringent. Residents may have more than a dozen chickens, but the birds must be kept at least 200 feet from the neighbors. Residents with fewer than a dozen chickens need only keep them 15 feet or more from the property line and 50 feet or more from a dwelling other than the resident's home.

In La Cañada, most residences are limited to three chickens, though people with larger lots can have more if they house the fowl appropriately. Roosters more than 2 months old are prohibited.

At the San Marino City Council's direction, staff looking into a law will pay particular attention to coop size and location, the number of chickens to allow, discouraging commercial gain and possibly requiring a chicken permit.

King said she buys a lot of organic chicken manure for her garden and hopes to have up to six chickens in order to get a dozen eggs a week.

"I think it's a positive step to grow my own food, not rely on trucks and shipping from all over the world and make sure the stuff we're eating at this house is pretty organic," she said.


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--Adolfo Flores, Times Community News

Photo: Pam King shows the area of her backyard, now a compost pile, where she would keep egg-laying chickens if the city of San Marino allowed it. Credit: Raul Roa/Pasadena Sun