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‘Cease and desist’ call comes on backyard chicken ordinance proposal

Mad as a wet hen, at times his voice shaking with emotion, a man who chose not to identify himself, told members of the Plumas County Planning Commission to cease and desist when it came to making recommendations concerning a proposed backyard chicken ordinance.

Quoting from several state supreme court cases outside of California, the man told commissioners they were invading other people’s properties. “People have raised chickens for centuries and there’s not been no problems,” he told commissioners.

This was part of a continued workshop, Thursday, May 16, on a proposed backyard chicken ordinance commissioners have held. Workshops have been held on two other occasions during planning commission regular meetings.

By what authority do you have to control people’s property, the man asked commissioners?

The unidentified man eventually told commissioners that he didn’t recognize them as a government authority.

Apparently, the unidentified man thought that the planning commission makes laws for Plumas County. As Planning Commission Director Randy Wilson explained to the audience, the commission holds workshops, then arranges for a public hearing and comes up with a proposed ordinance to send on to the Plumas County Board of Supervisors. The commission is comprised of five members. Each supervisor appoints a representative to the commission from his or her district.

Supervisors in turn agendize the proposed ordinance during a regularly scheduled meeting. It isn’t until a second meeting on the proposed ordinance that supervisors approve or reject a proposed ordinance. If they approve an ordinance it then becomes law in Plumas County.

A longtime Quincy area resident questioned a regulation on selling chicken eggs. Bill Coates said his daughters used to run up and down the street selling eggs from their 4-H chickens. “Is that not allowed?” he asked.

“It was never allowed,” Wilson explained. The sale of eggs is a health and safety regulation governed by the Plumas County Environmental Health Department, he explained. Sales are allowed if the interested chicken owner wants to follow that department’s process.

“Jerry Sipe isn’t going to chase down 4Hers,” Wilson said about the Environmental Health’s director’s intentions. But the backyard chicken ordinance is meant to exclude commercial egg sales without proper authorization.

“The less regulation the better,” said Janet Crane who identified herself as a chicken owner and a legal egg seller.

Commissioner Jeff Greening said that he concurred with Crane’s opinion. Throughout the workshops he has cautioned commissioners about becoming too involved with regulations. However, Greening was among the four commissioners present to approve the proposed backyard chicken ordinance.

The proposal will move on to the board of supervisors to see if it comes up to scratch.

The proposed ordinance is available at the Plumas County Planning Department at 555 Crescent St. in Quincy.

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