Q: I am on the board of my association. A homeowner recently requested approval
for chickens in her backyard. She mentioned she already has a garden with
vegetables and herbs as do I. This homeowner said it would be great to
have fresh eggs from chickens. The CC&Rs permit the homeowners to
have dogs and/or cats. The board has the authority, however, to approve
animals other than dogs and cats. Would it appropriate for us to allow
the chickens? We have never done so in the past.
A: Sustainable living and going green has grown in popularity. We see the
changes and push to become more sustainable and more green all around
us, including the law. The legislature has begun to make changes in the
Civil Code that provide homeowners with more ability to have gardens,
solar power, and drought tolerant plants. There are also prospective changes for artificial grass and clotheslines. We have not, however, seen changes in the Civil Code as to chickens and
other sustainable animals.
Chickens as well as other animals such as goats may be the next extension
of the sustainable living movement as chickens provide eggs and goats
provide milk. Add this to a well-rounded garden and homeowners might find
their trips to the local market will decrease. Before jumping to action
and allowing such animals into the association, certain considerations
should be made such as, but not limited to the following: Is the development
appropriate for chickens? For example, do homeowners have sufficient space
to keep the chickens? Do local ordinances permit these animals or regulate
them? Will the animals cause a nuisance to neighbors and other homeowners?
If the association is looking to be more sustainable, allowing chickens
may be beneficial in achieving this goal. If the association, however,
permits one homeowner to have chickens, it will need to equally allow
all other homeowners to have chickens. Before making such a decision,
the association should also consider the impact chickens may have on neighbors
and the community with regards to noise and smell. They should also make
sure it does not run "a fowl" of local ordinances. And, thus
should, consider local ordinances that may affect the keeping of chickens.
Going green is a great goal, but the association should remain mindful
of what is best for its members and community as whole.
 See AB2100; AB2561; AB2188.
 See AB1448; AB349.