Frank Muermann feeding the chickens in his backyard. The eggs the four chickens lay are only for personal consumption according to the Muermanns. They don’t understand why zoning bylaws restrict hens on residential properties, when other Lower Mainland municipalities allow a limited number of hens. Patrick Penner photo.

Mission couple cry fowl over District bylaw cracking down on backyard chickens

Bylaw enforcement letter states couple need to egg-vict hens or face daily $450 penalty

A pair of Mission seniors are crying fowl over the District’s bylaws restricting them from keeping hens on their property.

On Aug. 4, Frank and Laurianne Muermann received a letter on their doorstep from a district bylaw enforcement officer saying they are violating zoning restrictions for urban-residential property.

In order to keep their four hens, they would need to be zoned agricultural or small-scale agricultural with four or 1.8 acres available, respectively, according to the letter.

It states they need to get rid of their hens from the property within 30 days, or face daily fines of $450.

“The whole thing is so bloody asinine,” said Frank Muermann. “There must be a million people in the Greater Vancouver area and on Vancouver Island, and they’re all allowed chickens.

And Mission, with our 40,000 people, doesn’t allow [hens]. It makes no sense whatsoever.”

Citizens of Vancouver, Langley, Delta and Surrey are able to keep up to four hens on their property without the need for special zoning. Meanwhile, West Vancouver allows owners to keep six hens, North Vancouver allows eight and Victoria allows 20.

Bylaw officers gave the couple an extension until Sept. 29 to evict the chicks, according to the District, and tried to work with property owners to ensure voluntary compliance, after the initial complaint was made in July.

“Fines are a last step,” said Taryn Hubbard, manager of communications for the District. “If the chickens remain on the property after this date, bylaw officers may send a notice stating a $450 fine.

“To date, this property has not been fined.”

The Muermann said their property is 9,000 square feet, more than double the minimum requirement in Greater Vancouver of 4,000 square feet.

“Most of our neighbours weren’t even aware that we had chickens. They’re so nice and quiet. Those chickens are so tame and so well behaved. They follow us around like little puppy dogs. They are our pets.

“There’s dogs all over the place that are barking everyday at 100 times the volume, and nobody complains.”

Noisy, Charlotte, Becky, and Grumpy (the four hens) are properly taken care of, their feed is secure and the eggs are only used for personal consumption, the Muermanns said. They live in their “Chicken Condo,” a special coop constructed by another neighbour.

And the entire backyard is practically already small-scale agriculture, according to the Muermanns, who grow raspberries, peaches, apricots, carnation grapes, apples – all secluded with an eight-foot fence on all sides.

“We are producing more value in the little backyard on 9,000 square feet than some farmers produce on a quarter section,” Muermann said. “Everybody’s heard of the Great Wall of China – we’ve got the ‘Three Green Walls of Mission.’”

The couple says they have walked around the neighbourhood and gathered 37 signatures for a petition to the district, in a plea to keep their pets.

Only one neighbour was adamant in opposition, according to the Muermanns, adding they suspect she’s the one who made the complaints.

“She told me … ‘It is the law.’” Muermann said.

The District said they made updates and improvements to small-scale agriculture in the zoning bylaw on Sept.8, but further review was needed to “explore opportunities for urban agriculture, including the keeping of chickens and bees.”

“At this time, the current zoning bylaw regulations stand and will continue to prohibit chickens in the urban area.”

Muermann said he had a meeting over the bylaw with the Mayor and council, but said he “got nowhere.”

“Our councillors are so fortunate. Governments all over the world are worried about the global pandemic; ours are just worried about how to get rid of our four little chicken pets.”

RELATED: Chicken, eggs both go first as feds roll out COVID-19 food surplus program

RELATED: Chilliwack firefighters battle large blaze at Rosedale chicken barn Friday


@portmoodypigeon
patrick.penner@missioncityrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Mission

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Frank and Laurianne Muermann standing in the backyard of their 9,000 square foot property. The property is more than twice the size required for keeping chickens in the Greater Vancouver area. Patrick Penner photo.

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Kevin Fowler of Abbotsford won almost $57,000 in the Lotto 6/49 drawn from Aug. 15. (Submitted photo)
Abbotsford man wins almost $57K in Lotto 6/49

Kevin Fowler matches five out of six numbers, using dog’s age and other numbers

Everett Silvertips’ Gage Gonclaves fights with Spokane Chiefs’ Filip Kral for the puck during the game on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Mission’s Gage Goncalves invited to Hockey Canada’s World Juniors selection camp

Goncalves was recently drafted to the NHL in the 2nd round by the Tampa Bay Lightning

Mission firefighters in the process of hooking up a hose to a fire hydrant across the street. The fire was extinguished before it was needed. Patrick Penner photo.
Mission firefighters respond to house fire on Ferndale Avenue

Emergency scanners reported flames shooting out of bedroom window

Google Maps screenshot taken at 7:56 a.m., Oct. 29.
TRAFFIC: Westbound Highway 1 crash between Chilliwack and Abbotsford

Left lane is blocked, traffic backed up to No. 3 Road

Staff at Lowe’s Canada stores contributed more than $2.1 million to charities across the nation through their Heroes Campaign. In Abbotsford and Mission, three charities received a total of more than $25,000. (Submitted photo)
Lowe’s Canada donates more than $25K to 3 local charities

Funds will support non-profits in Abbotsford and Mission

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks Thursday (Oct. 29) during a news conference held at Fraser Health office, in video posted to Facebook. (Photo: Government of British Columbai/Facebook)
COVID-19 ‘disproportionately’ affecting Fraser Health: Henry

Health region has about 75 per cent of B.C.’s active cases

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

Most Read