Letters: Chickens and covenants at odds

A group of Ocean Shores residents wants to be able to raise a small amount of so-called backyard chickens.

Ocean Shores City enforcement of ordinances … or not.

The initial developers, who planned this seaside community, no doubt sought to retain its natural beauty and amenities and to maintain high standards of aesthetic control over its improvements. The restrictive land covenants to the plat of Ocean Shores clearly bear this out. And, this is probably why the City chose to keep the Covenants in the form of city ordinances. However, now the Mayor and City Council are considering changing one of the ordinances that will affect all owners of property in the City. This pertains to Municipal Code, Chapter 6.04.105 – Livestock and/or Poultry Prohibited or, in layman’s terms, can you legally have poultry in Ocean Shores?

Residents who petitioned the City for the ordinance change have told the Council that:

1. Other cities allow chickens

2. They make excellent pets

3. They won’t make any noise

4. The owners will always keep the chicken coop area clean

5. The chickens will provide eggs

6. The owners will always abide by the new city regulations

7. My neighbors don’t care if I have chickens, so it’s OK.

Several people attended the City Council meeting and told the Council that they already have chickens. Chapter 6:04.105 states “… any such animals will immediately and permanently impounded.” We know the City did not enforce this ordinance. If the Mayor and City Council affirms poultry, will this benefit all the citizens in Ocean Shores, or just a few who continue to ignore the existing law and then brag about it to the City Council?

The land covenant and the city ordinance prohibiting the keeping and maintaining of poultry on lots in Ocean Shores serves the following objectives:

1. It promotes the scenic beauty of the area.

2. Many of the people presently purchasing property in Ocean Shores purchased it in reliance upon the exclusive image sought to be advanced by the Restrictive Covenant and the brochures and promotional material concerning the area.

3. The presence of poultry in pens with their food scattered upon the ground is an invitation to vermin and other wild animals like coyotes. The presence of poultry also give off offensive odors and noise that may disturb surrounding neighbors.

I believe there is more involved here than changing this ordinance. It is about a City Council and Mayor who have elected to overlook or completely ignore existing City codes and ordinances — codes and ordinances that help maintain the seaside atmosphere of Ocean Shores. Because other cities allow poultry doesn’t make it right for Ocean Shores. Did you buy here to enjoy the sand and sounds of the Ocean? Are you a part-timer here in Ocean Shores? And, don’t tell me it doesn’t bother you what happens in Ocean Shores — the problem could become your next door neighbor. You can find the Council’s emails on the City webpage at osgov.com and the City offices are located at 585 Pt. Brown Ave NW. Your voices need to be heard.

Jan Hiatt

Ocean Shores

Thanks to Woof-a-Thon

Many thanks to Wilma Spike and her team for organizing the 5th annual Ocean Shore Woof-a-Thon held August 13th at North Bay Park this year.

It was a smashing success.

North Beach PAWS was one of four recipients of the proceeds from this year’s Fundraising event. We received a check in the amount of $2,500, which is earmarked to assist Paws with Veterinary expenses this year. The other three beneficiaries were

Paws of Grays Harbor, Harbor Rescue and the Ocean Shores Food Bank, each who received the same amount.

It was a beautiful day and a great turnout, with a great morning walk, vendors, rescue organizations and charities as well as dog lovers and their pets all joining in the festivities of the day. Food and beverages were available and great music provided by Charlie Baer. Many beautiful gift baskets were raffled off, and some fun dog contestsheld with prizes that were enjoyed by all.

This is an amazing fundraising event that many long hours of time and energy are required to organize each year. Hats off to Wilma and her committee for doing a tremendous job again! Thank you from all the animals at the North Beach PAWS shelter, and volunteers who work so hard to run it!

Sincerely,

Lorna Valdez,

North Beach

PAWS President