Roosters remain welcome to stay in Kent after the City Council dropped any proposal to ban the birds.
The council decided at its June 22 Committee of the Whole meeting to leave things as they are and not try to ban or limit roosters in an effort to reduce noise complaints.
“Most people don’t have a problem with roosters and how things are handled now,” said city planner Sam Alcorn in a report to the council about results of a social media survey, public comments and emails.
Alcorn said the city gets about 20 to 30 noise complaints per year about roosters based on data from 2015 through 2020.
The council in May considered a ban but delayed that decision after residents spoke up against prohibiting roosters in the city. City staff said that the noise ordinance was difficult to enforce by code enforcement officers unless they witnessed the roosters crowing. The proposed ban by city staff in response to noise complaints would only require an officer to see the bird.
Council members asked at the May meeting for more information and resident feedback. City staff posted an online survey on its social media sites then drew about 450 responses from people who clicked on the survey.
“A majority are not bothered by the noise,” Alcorn said about the results. “Most don’t own roosters or chickens. The majority do not support regulations, some support limiting rather than banning roosters. Most had an opinion of not to ban and were split on other options.”
City staff presented four options to the council, including an outright ban to rooster ownership; a ban except in certain rural zones; a limit of one rooster per lot; or leave things how they are.
“I would go with option four,” Councilmember Les Thomas said about keeping things the same. “I don’t think we can draw any conclusions one way or the other.”
Councilmember Marli Larimer was the only one who disagreed with Thomas. Larimer favored limiting roosters to larger lots or rural areas.
“I have a hard time ignoring 20 to 30 complaints per year and the problem with code enforcement,” Larimer said.
Thomas later responded that he didn’t think 20 to 30 complaints per year is very many in a city of nearly 130,000.
Alcorn said the majority of cities near Kent ban roosters. He said Bellevue, SeaTac, Federal Way and Des Moines restrict roosters to certain areas of the city.
Council President Toni Troutner said the council will look at the issue again in six months to see how things are going with noise complaints about roosters. She thanked city staff for its hard work about the potential rooster ban and for posting the survey and compiling the results.
“That was helpful in making our decision,” Troutner said.