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Sherwood most likely will chicken out

by: Photo courtesy of stock.xchng These guys, or at least their big brothers, won't be welcome in the city soon.

Want to raise a few chickens in Sherwood? That possibility isn't expected to last much longer.

The city's staff is expected to return to a future Sherwood City Council meeting with code language making chicken ownership a no-no within the city limits.

In theory, residents can currently receive a conditional-use permit allowing them to raise non-domesticated animals such as chickens. The catch is the permit costs $4,100 and there aren't any legal chicken-raisers in the city at the moment, officials say.

During an Aug. 2 work session, Mayor Keith Mays said he felt allowing chickens in the city has the potential to cause conflicts among neighbors. Mays said the issue had reached the City Council after discussion by the Sherwood Planning Commission about updating codes. The commission forwarded the issue to the council but didn't make any recommendations, said Mays.

City Manager Jim Patterson said he'd prefer to close the loophole that if you have $5,000, you're allowed to own the domesticated fowl.

Councilor Matt Langer suggested that a community chicken pen of sorts might be created outside the city to allow a place for chicken owners to keep the egg-laying animals. However, Councilor Bill Butterfield said the city shouldn't have to come up alternative locations for residents to house chickens.

Many local cities allow having a few chickens with conditions.

Last August, the city of Beaverton unanimously passed an urban poultry ordinance allowing residents to keep up to four hens in their back yard, subject to certain restrictions. Chickens are allowed in Tigard as well as long as they are kept 100 feet away from any nearby residences. The animals are banned in Tualatin city limits.

Gresham too allows for the birds, limiting the number to four hens. However, that city racked up 32 chicken-related complaints from Feb. 2010 through April 2011, according to the Gresham Outlook.

Mays said the issue is expected to return to the council for a formal vote soon.

Meanwhile, the expected ban could prove interesting for the city's newest retail venture. Last spring, Coastal Farm and Ranch received a conditional-use permit to open a store in the former Sherwood G.I. Joe's space. Among the featured creatures offered by the retailer are almost 20 varieties of chicks, which would have to find suitable quarters elsewhere.