Today we had a meeting with Lloyd Kerr, Horace Jones, and Allyson Cain, some of the key players in the Planning and Zoning Department. We had a positive meeting and it looks like we could be getting a pretty fair ordinance!
Apparently, someone was listening at the Planning Board meeting on April 1! The county has reviewed some of the terms that we brought before them and some of the concerns that members of the PB brought forward. The terms of a new ordinance that the board discussed include:
- Allowing for up to 8 chickens on a quarter acre; properties over .25 acre would primarily be governed by animal nuisance laws (noise, smell, etc.) and dealt with on a case-by-case complaint basis;
- No roosters. We kinda already figured that one. But, there was discussion about POSSIBLY allowing roosters sometime in the future, after the new ordinance had time to prove itself. (Let’s give it at least a couple of years.)
- Chickens must be kept in backyards and may be allowed to free range, provided they have a shelter (coop) to keep them safe from predators at night.
- The coop must be kept 20-feet from neighbor’s dwellings. This doesn’t include your own dwelling–you may have your coop as close to your own house as you want.
- Unless you are properly zoned, you may not sell chickens.
Other recommendations that might be brought up:
- A 10-foot setback from property lines/fence lines. Really, this isn’t a big deal because it would already basically be included in the 20-feet from neighbor dwelling requirement.
- Some zoning districts may still not be allowed to have chickens. The primary areas in question are Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key.
We encourage residents of these areas to contact your County Commissioners and let them know if you want to be able to keep chickens in your areas.
Although this is a very good start and shows SO much progress from where the thinking was a couple of months ago, we still might have to campaign for these terms. If people keep their word, these are the ordinance terms that Planning and Zoning will present to the Planning Board in May for public hearing. If the proposal meets no opposition or changes and the Planning Board chooses to move forward, it will be presented to the Committee of the Whole. The next step from there is the Board of County Commissioners Regular Meeting for public hearing, then for voting. We’re definitely moving forward!
We were also given copies of the April 1 2013 Chicken Ordinance Draft and the Power Point Slides that were used for the presentation at the April 1 Planning Board meeting. These documents were not made available at the time of the Planning Board Meeting. We were also given a printed copy of the proposed Draft Ordinance changes that they plan to present to the Planning Board at the next meeting.