OLDS — The Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) has approved the first two applications it has received for chicken coops in town.
The MPC did so during its June 16 meeting in the town hall, stating that the applications are conditionally approved.
An amendment was also passed requiring the two successful applicants to obey all the rules regarding the raising of chickens as set out in the town’s Community Standards Bylaw.
The two coops approved for raising urban hens will be located at 6016 60th St., just off 62nd Ave. and 5 Coutts Close, near the intersection of Wigham Close and Winter Drive.
The 60th Ave. application was the first approved.
Eight area landowners were notified by the municipality regarding the application and no objections or concerns were received.
Debate on the application lasted about half an hour as commissioners discussed everything from where the manure from the chickens would go to the height allowed for coops as well as the limit on the number of chicken coops allowed in town.
After much discussion, it was said that chicken raisers can keep manure for their own use in gardens or it must be dumped in one of the bins picked up by the town garbage contractor.
Commissioners weren’t sure whether that manure should go in a black or green bin. In the end, it was agreed that that's a decision that would have to be made by the contractor.
An amending bylaw passed last April allows residents to keep a maximum of six hens.
The limit on the number of coops allowed so far is 40, although commissioners agreed that number would likely increase as the town’s population grows.
Commissioners were told coops can’t be any higher than two metres (6.56 feet).
Coun. Wanda Blatz noted that during debate on urban chickens last year, councillors were told the sex of a chick remains unclear until they reach a certain age.
In order to obtain a licence to raise chickens in the community, applicants must take a course on chicken raising and the town must be satisfied they have done so.
Operations director Scott Greico said town staff recommend that applicants take an online chicken-raising course.
Blatz also noted that during debate on the matter last year, council learned that there are a few people in the community who were raising chickens before the bylaws on how to do so were passed.
“You can hear them – you can hear them, loud and clear,” Blatz said.
Councillors were told those existing chicken-raisers have until the end of this year to apply for permits to have chicken coops in order to be in compliance with the municipality's bylaws.
"First legal chicken coop in Olds,” acting commission chair Dan Peters said, after commissioners voted to approve the 6016 60th St. application.
Debate on the second application lasted less than four minutes.
Commissioners noted that the applicant supplied proof that a course on raising chickens had indeed been taken.
Seven area landowners were notified about the proposal. Again, no objections or concerns about the plans were received from area property owners.