Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Sarasota Chicken Train Leaves Station

Sarasota County’s backyard chicken train left the station today (May 10 2016), but not before being slowed down and having some extra stops and baggage added. It is now expected to arrive in late September or early October.

Commissioner Mason, eager to see the languishing hen issue resolved before she leaves the Board in November, brought the matter up, trying to gain support to draft and advertise an Ordinance based on the success in the City of Sarasota. 

But Commissioner Robinson redirected the three Commissioners present (Commissioner Caragiulo had to attend to a matter in Sarasota) to the staff report recommendation that included an added “outreach” provision. Mason withdrew her original motion and moved the staff recommendation, which ultimately passed 4-0, but not before a few concerns were raised.

Here's the staff recommendation: Should the Board recommend the implementation of a "backyard chicken" ordinance, similar to the City of Sarasota's, staff will schedule workshops for both North and South County, as well as facilitate discussion with neighborhood associations such as the Council or Neighborhoods Association (CONA). Staff would also request CLUCK's assistance in providing information and education with these discussions. Subsequent to the workshops, a Board authorization to advertise item will be scheduled to deliver the results of those outreach efforts, as well as, discuss the processing of a proposed Ordinance.

Commissioner Robinson, assuring those assembled that she was not creating roadblocks or speedbumps, asked staff to address “health aspects” that might include required vet visits or licensing. She also wanted clarification on code enforcement – specifically if CLUCK was going to provide a service comparable to what is available in the City of Sarasota where chicken-related calls are routed from paid city staff to CLUCK volunteers to save the City time and money. Commissioner Hines noted concerns from the Sheriff's office.

COMMENT: The report delivered to the Commission clearly stated that the County's Director of Health and Human Services, reviewing both information from the City of Sarasota and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "do not provide a recommendation for or against the keeping of backyard chickens."

As for the role of volunteers, CLUCK is now planning a May 25th evening meeting to explore that question. Details will be provided here, when that date and location are confirmed. 

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