City & County of Honolulu

City panel OKs
chicken restriction

Pens must be 300 feet away from
neighbors in residential areas

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

Chickens would be illegal in all but the most rural areas of Oahu under a bill moving through the City Council.

The Council Parks and Public Safety Committee voted unanimously yesterday to send the bill out after hearing testimony from residents in Kapolei and Ewa -- areas that have seen rapid home development in the past decade -- who said crowing roosters are a nuisance.

Ewa resident Earl Arakaki said roosters crow at all hours of the day.

"In modern Hawaii, we live close together," Arakaki said. "The time has come to accommodate the health and safety of the majority of our citizens and change the law."

A feral rooster perched on a fence of a Mililani residence. A city bill would, in effect, ban chickens from residential areas.

The bill would require that enclosures of chickens be at least 300 feet from neighboring property in residential, resort, apartment or apartment mixed-use district. That would, in effect, require any chicken enclosure in those districts be held within a 360,000-square-foot property.

A typical new residential lot is about 5,000 square feet.

Councilman Gary Okino pointed out that people could evade the ordinance by not putting up enclosures for chickens.

Public Safety Chairman Jon Yoshimura plugged that loophole with an amendment requiring all chickens be housed within enclosures.

Council Chairman John DeSoto introduced the bill in response to complaints from residents in his district.

Kapolei resident Keith Williams said he cannot understand how chickens have, up until now, been defined as pets.

"They don't sell chicken feed at a pet store," he said. "You have to go to a farmers' market to buy chicken feed."

Councilman Duke Bainum attempted several years ago to enact similar legislation, but the proposal was shot down after a opposition from rooster and chicken growers and farmers. None testified yesterday.

The bill now goes before the Council for a second reading vote Oct. 16.

City & County of Honolulu

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