Friday, September 10, 2010

Sarasota CIty Staff Proposes Backyard Chicken Approach

297 days after CLUCK submitted its Zoning Text Amendment request, the City of Sarasota planning staff has responded. Taking the advice of City Attorney Robert Fournier, the City is contemplating implementing the backyard hen provision as part of the City Code, rather than as a Zoning Text Amendment.

Overall, it appears staff has done a good job, keeping things simple and straightforward and generally attempting to follow our request. In addition staff has added some provisions in response to concerns voiced earlier at a CCNA (Coalition of City Neighborhoods Association) meeting.

The gist of the City's work was presented to those assembled at tonight's CLUCK meeting (which featured some inspirational coop designs by Kate Adams and Ira Klineschmidt) and the group was enthusiastic about the long-awaited forward movement.

The one discrepancy that perplexed the CLUCK audience was why the City had reduced the maximum number of hens by 50% from 6 to 4. Ira's simplest coop provided a dramatic argument for six chickens. The rolling "chicken tractor" costs $300. With 6 birds that's a significant $50 per chicken. But if you are only housing four birds the cost per bird jumps a whopping 50% to $75 per bird.

Hopefully in the coming week, the City can explain its thinking and we can make our case regarding why 6 is a more far reasonable number than 4.

Please mark your calendars for Monday October 4th, when we'll be comparing different chicken breeds and working more on our strategy for adoption of the backyard chicken provisions in the City.

The City actually has two similar options. The first is reproduced below.



Sec. 8-2. Keeping livestock and certain animals prohibited.

(a) Except for a retail establishment engaging in the lawful sale of animals and Sarasota Jungle Gardens,

it shall be unlawful for any person to keep, harbor, raise or maintain the following:

(1) Any livestock;

(2) Any poultry;, except chickens being kept, harbored, raised, or maintained as accessory to a

residential single family structure, subject to the following restrictions:

a. No more than four (4) chickens may be kept, with roosters prohibited,

b. No person shall slaughter any chickens,

c. The chickens shall be provided with a covered enclosure and must be kept in the

covered enclosure or a fenced enclosure at all times. No covered enclosure or fenced

enclosure shall be located in the front yard nor shall it be closer than ten (10) feet to

any property line of an adjacent property,

d. All enclosures for the keeping of chickens shall be so constructed and maintained as to

prevent rodents or other pests from being harbored underneath, within, or within the

walls of the enclosure and to protect the chickens from predators. Enclosures shall be

kept in neat condition, including provision of clean, dry bedding materials and regular

removal of waste materials,

e. All feed and other items associated with the keeping of chickens that are likely to

attract or to become infested with or infected by rodents or other pests shall be kept in

secure containers or otherwise protected so as to prevent rodents and other pests from

gaining access to or coming into contact with them;

(3) Any rabbits, except those being kept, harbored, raised or maintained:

a. As pets within a completely enclosed dwelling or detached garage capable of housing

at least two cars;

b. In an outside enclosure, coop or pen, up to a maximum of two rabbits.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) above, the city manager or his designee may, by special permit, authorize the keeping harboring, raising or maintaining of livestock, poultry or rabbits (not within a dwelling) within the city limits. A special permit may only be issued for a specified limited period of time and shall set forth such conditions or requirements as shall be deemed necessary to mitigate the potential adverse effects upon neighboring properties. In determining whether a special permit shall be issued, the city manager or his designee shall consider the nature of the request, the potential benefit to the city or the general public which may result if the special permit is granted, and any adverse effects which neighboring properties may experience if the special permit is granted.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subjection (a) above, private restrictions on the use of property and keeping of animals shall remain enforceable and take precedence over the standards herein. Private restrictions include but are not limited to deed restrictions, condominium master deed restrictions, neighborhood association by-laws, and covenant deeds. The interpretation and enforcement of the private restriction is the sole responsibility of the private parties involved.