Sunday, January 2, 2011

CLUCK Proposes Wording Changes to Strengthen Backyard Chicken Code . . .Added restrictions address odor, setbacks, manure, sale of eggs, and animal welfare concerns

As a result of the Planning Board hearing City Planning Staff agreed to clarify the language in Section 2c. which deals with how the birds will be contained. Staff made it clear to CLUCK that we could propose other changes that we thought would improve the ordinance language.

CLUCK feels the staff re-write changed the intent and effect of 2c. so we are presenting our suggested substitute as well as provisions increasing the number of hens, creating minimum space requirements for the birds, increasing the setback from neighboring homes, addressing manure and odor, prohibiting the sale of eggs and providing some relief for owners of dogs or cats that kill chickens.

Although there was much discussion regarding the lack of enforcement language, CLUCK did not propose any additional wording because the enforcement procedure and penalty schedule appear in a separate section of the City Code.  Chapter 2 Article V. Division 5 (Code Compliance System) Section 2-321 provides for a $50 a day fine for violations of Chapter 8.2 -8.4.

CLUCK Proposed Adjustments to Proposed Ordinance Language

Based on citizen and Planning Board comment and testimony, CLUCK is proposing several adjustments to the proposed ordinance language. The version below is CLUCK’s substitute. New or revised language shown in bold

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 six (6) chickens may be kept, with roosters prohibited,
b.  No person shall slaughter any chickens,

c.  The chickens shall be provided with a movable covered enclosure (henhouse/coop) and must be kept in the covered enclosure or a fenced enclosure at all times. Chickens must be secured within the henhouse/coop during non-daylight hours.

d. The space per bird in the henhouse/coop shall not be less than four (4) square feet per bird.

e. No covered enclosure or fenced enclosure shall be located in the front yard nor shall the henhouse/coop be closer than ten (10) feet to any property line of an adjacent property, nor within twenty-five (25) feet of any adjacent residential structure.  Odors from chickens, chicken manure, or other chicken-related substances shall not be detectable at the property boundaries.

f.  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. The henhouse/coop must be impermeable to rodents, wild birds, and predators, including dogs and cats.  Enclosures shall be kept in neat condition, including provision of clean, dry bedding materials and regular removal of waste materials. All manure not used for composting or fertilizing shall be removed promptly.

g.  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;

h. The sale of eggs or any other chicken products generated in City of Sarasota is prohibited.

i. No dog or cat that kills a chicken will, for that reason alone, be considered a dangerous or aggressive animal.

(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 subsection (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.

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