Homes in a rural Abbotsford neighbourhood are set for rezoning that the city hopes will address the area’s uniqueness. (Google Street View image)

Chickens allowed, cows banned in rural Abbotsford neighbourhood

New zone for hobby farms in allows small-scale agriculture

The future of the birds and the bees – and also sheep, goats, and rabbits – in an Abbotsford neighbourhood prompted disagreement among council recently.

City staff had proposed creating a new zone for hobby farms in Abbotsford that would allow small-scale agriculture, with a suburban neighbourhood southwest of the city’s core set to be the first area considered for such designation.

The properties are located off Ross Road and south of Fraser Highway and outside of Abbotsford’s urban development property. One hundred homes are on half-acre lots, with another 21 on one-acre parcels. Since the neighbourhood was created in 1960, the area has been governed by five different zoning bylaws, which have allowed a range of agriculture. But in the last zoning bylaw, the properties were given an unintentional designation out of line with historic use and which permitted all types of agricultural activity.

The city consulted with residents earlier this year and staff proposed making the neighbourhood the first area designated as “Suburban Residential Hobby Farm.”

During consultation, more than half of respondents supported some type of agriculture. Residents were receptive to the raising of small animals, fowl, and fruit and vegetables, but were almost universally opposed to rules that would permit the raising of large animals or commercial agriculture activities.

The new zone would prohibit large animals on lots, including horses and cows; allow the raising of fruits, vegetables and bees; and put limits on the number of smaller animals permitted. Residents could have up to 20 poultry or rabbits per acre, or up to four goats or sheep per acre. Residents of half-acre lots, for example, would be allowed two goats.

Existing uses would be allowed to continue until they stop.

At a recent public hearing, council heard from local residents, including several opposed to the keeping of chickens.

They cited worries about noise and smells associated with animals, and that chickens in the area would attract rats and other rodents.

Couns. Les Barkman and Moe Gill both opposed the rezoning, citing the likelihood that the raising of chickens would result in a rodent problem.

Barkman had also previously expressed concern that some residents might try to obtain farm status by goosing their revenues to the $2,500 threshold, thereby depriving the city of tax revenue.

But Darren Braun, the city’s director of development planning, said that he has previously misstated the farm tax threshold.

While $2,500 is the point at which large agriculture properties can receive farm status that results in lower property taxes, for parcels smaller than two hectares, the threshold is $10,000.

Despite opposition from Barkman and Gill, the rezoning passed.

Mayor Henry Braun noted that the changes actually put more limits on agricultural uses and the raising of chickens. If council were to not act, he said, agricultural practices would remain unrestricted in the area.

“If we vote against this, we are actually saying everything is permissible. I will be supporting this for that reason,” Braun said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


More than 100 properties in rural Abbotsford are set for rezoning as the city tries to align the uses on the property with its bylaws. (Google image)

Just Posted

Auditors couldn’t tell if Fraser Health executives bought booze on taxpayers’ dime

Review from 2014 says one administrator bought Bose headphones on company credit card

Abbotsford school district ‘not panicked’ by added cost of new health tax

Both MSP premiums and new payroll tax will be in effect in 2019

City taps engineering GM for top job

Peter Sparanese hired to replace retiring city manager George Murray

Retired Abbotsford city manager Murray hailed by council

George Murray sat at final council meetings Monday

Free parking not in the cards for Fraser Valley hospitals

Chair says board may look at ways to make parking easier, but not free

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

Vancouver Island university develops program to help kids cope with overdose crisis

A child and youth care professor worked with students to develop projects focused on children, families and communities dealing with opioids.

Liberals tried pilot project with Facebook data whistleblower in 2016: source

Cambridge Analytica has been accused of improperly using information from more than 50 million Facebook accounts

No opting out: Canadians to get emergency alerts on their phones soon

Canada’s wireless providers are preparing for a looming update to the National Public Alerting System

Just For Laughs sold to Howie Mandel

Just For Laughs sold to Howie Mandel and U.S. company ICM Partners

Texas bombing suspect blows himself up as SWAT moves in

The suspect in a spate of bombing attacks that have terrorized Austin over the past month blew himself up with an explosive device as authorities closed in

Witnesses: Boko Haram returns Nigerian kidnapped schoolgirls

Witnesses say Boko Haram militants have returned an unknown number of the 110 girls who were abducted from their Nigeria school a month ago.

Canada-wide warrant issued for Surrey suspect in ‘vicious’ attack on autistic man

Ronjot Singh Dhami, 25, is wanted for one count of aggravated assault

Golden Knights win 4-1, remain undefeated against Canucks

Vegas gets points from 12 players in dominating effort versus Vancouver

Most Read