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Questions for those chicken raisers in San Jose, CA area

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by RxBehave, Jan 24, 2016.

  1. RxBehave

    RxBehave Hatching

    Jan 24, 2016
    Just starting coop design but have questions about building a coop as it applies to local city ordinances.

    How far from property line should the coop/run be built?
    right now I am planning to put it about 2 feet from backyard fence. No houses within 30 feet of that fence

    How tall can it be?

    Do I need a building permit?
    Planning a small coop 4' by 5' only, and under 6 feet tall.

    I know I can have up to 6 hens, no roosters. but am reading conflicting info saying I must have a permit to just have the legal number of birds???

    Thanks for any help you can give me! Looking forward to being a chicken fancier!!


  2. HnkyDnkyZZFarm

    HnkyDnkyZZFarm Chirping

    Jan 2, 2016
    Northern California
    Depends on your zoning. :D

    so... find your zoning Here

    The link in case that doesn't work;


    This is the zoning atlas for Santa Clara County as of 2012. There are nearly three hundred pages, it goes in order as if you were scrolling left to right and top to bottom going North to South. We're further south, so it took some patience to get to the practically second to last page.

    The zones will be A, AR, HS, RR for rural and R1, R1E, RHS, R1S, R3S, R2 and R3 for urban. The map is color coded and city names and their boundaries are in red and black.

    Then you go to the Zoning Ordinance and look up the laws specifically pertaining to your zoning. Here

    or copy and paste


    This is another long read, but SO AMAZING INFORMATIONAL!!! Even just for what regulations apply to what property uses.

    Your zoning determines whether you can have outbuildings related to use and what use you have rights to and within what limitations. For example if you are in the city proper, no quacking ducks and no roosters. If you're zoned Urban (R1, etc.) you have a whole different set of restrictions than someone who is in an agricultural zone - someone zoned A has different "rights" than someone zoned AR.

    Fences are talked about



    and stock limitations Here



    Depending on your zoning and city - San Jose proper, or a surrounding city makes a difference.

    Here's an article in the mercury pertaining specifically to San Jose, and it is in alignment with the 6 hens, so it looks like that is probably correct, but I would look it up in the San Jose Code of Ordinances - https://www.municode.com/library/ca/san_jose/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT17BUCO for conflicts, although it appears any references point you to the County Zoning Code

    A lot of it wont apply to you if you're in the Urban zones, but the rules for building when making use of your property are laid out right down to the letter. The city sections are closer to the end. Happy reading to you. I promise, it's way more fun than it sounds. :D
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2016

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