There was some concern over "backyard ranching" when the Corte Madera Town Council was debating in March whether or not to change legislation regarding the keeping of bee hives and chicken coops within town limits.
Supporters of the move to loosen restrictions denied Corte Madera would become a farming community. Just as the Town Council members expected, there hasn't been a huge influx of applications for coops or hives, although keeping chickens on lots greater than 5,000 square feet falls under the category of Permitted Use according to the amendment, so it's hard to monitor those numbers, according to officials.
Chicken coops on lots smaller than 5,000 square feet were not grandfathered in. There has been only one application sent to the Corte Madera Planning Department and that was for a bee hive.
There could be changes coming for North Bay commercial egg producers, however, if Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., can get support for her bill. She is pushing to create national standards that would increase the size of henhouses and require egg labeling so consumers will know how the hens were raised.
"This is a practical, fair-minded deal that solves a real problem for the egg industry," Feinstein told the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee.
There are those who say the legislation could drive small egg farmers out of business.