Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Chicken Rules Finally Hatch | Proposed Ordinance Would Allow Up to 4 Hens, No Roosters | Proposed Ordinance Would Allow Up to 4 Hens, No Roosters

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Chicken Rules Finally Hatch | Proposed Ordinance Would Allow Up to 4 Hens, No Roosters | Proposed Ordinance Would Allow Up to 4 Hens, No Roosters

Article excerpt

SARASOTA COUNTY

VENICE -- New rules permitting backyard chickens throughout most of Sarasota County are finally flying the coop.

After more than four years incubating, the County Commission on Tuesday supported rules that would allow up to four hens to be kept on properties within single-family residential areas.

The commission voted unanimously Tuesday to begin the public hearing process on the new rules. Two workshops are scheduled on Aug. 2 and 3 to discuss the proposed changes

before they head to public hearings and then to the planning and county commissions in the following two months.

The issue of permitting backyard chickens has scrambled county leaders since early 2012, shortly after the city of Sarasota changed its rules to allow residents to keep up to four hens, but no roosters, in a coop on a single-family property.

CLUCK, a local advocacy group that helped craft the city rules, has pushed since to convince the county to adopt a similar stance but the rules repeatedly stalled amid concerns about how to enforce the rules and potential health concerns.

The proposed rules largely follow the city's and prohibit roosters, the slaughter of hens, and the sale of eggs or other related products onsite. They also establish rules regarding the type, size and placement of coops on properties and standards regarding odor and the prevention of rodents and other pests, according to the proposal.

Any unwanted chickens could be taken to the county's Health and Human Services Mosquito Control Division for utilization in its Sentinel Chicken Program, through which officials use chickens to monitor mosquito-borne illnesses, according to the proposal.

The county also will consider delaying the rules' effective date until the beginning of next year to give area homeowners associations time to consider whether they would like to update their rules to prohibit or restrict backyard chickens, zoning administrator Donna Thompson said. …

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