News Section: Local Government
CLUCK Clears Hurdle For Backyard Coops
BRADENTON -- Fears of a coup over the backyards of Manatee County residents were relaxed Tuesday when members of CLUCK convinced a majority of the BOCC that allowing backyard chicken coops was really no threat to the town. With a slim vote of 4-to-3, commissioners will now ask staff to prepare an ordinance that will allow residents to keep chickens in their backyard.
There weren't as many Citizens Lobbying for Urban Chicken Keeping (CLUCK) members at the Board of County Commissioner meeting Tuesday, as showed up at last week's BOCC workshop, where CLUCK members requested their proposal: to repeal the ordinance prohibiting backyard chicken coops in Manatee County.
Not all commissioners were convinced that by doing so would be as benign an action, to how it would effect other residents, as CLUCK members claim.
But the fears presented by several of the citizens at the meeting were more about the myths surrounding the issue than what the facts support.
Robert Tarnay from Palmetto Point, said he was against allowing chickens in residential areas. "My mother takes naps. They make noise and I am against allowing it."
Larry Brown says their waste fouls rivers and that people won't take proper care of them. "The runoff goes to the aquifer, and I don't want it in my drinking water."
Victor Coveduck, also from Palmetto Point, had a list of reasons he thought the county shouldn't allow any change in the existing ordinance that prevents residents from keeping backyard chickens. "There are health reasons, and they are stinky." Coveduck added, "They disturb the peace, are a nuisance and present conflict … Our real estate value will fall."
These claims were challenged by both Manatee and Sarasota CLUCK members.
Ronald Sprague from Palma Sola said he has chickens in his backyard and has had them for years.
"The only thing the neighbors complains about, is when they don't get any eggs," Said Sprague.
Sprague reminded the commission, "Chickens are much quieter than dogs and cats."
Jean Peelen, a City Commissioner in Holmes Beach where they are allowed said she voted for it and that it's been a success. "We have regulations to protect neighborhoods from any intrusion," explained Peelen.
Manatee County Commissioner, Carol Whitmore said, "I am in total support of it, but not for the Homeowners Associations." Whitmore suggested, "We could try it for six months to a year."
Robert Kluson, a Manatee CLUCK member said, "Please set a timeline, and invite the leadership from CLUCK. We hope you will work with us."
Jono Miller of Sarasota CLUCK says the list of counties and towns that allow backyard chickens is growing at a rapid pace. Pinellas, Hernando and Hardee county, the City of Holmes Beach, City of Sarasota, Miami and Gainesville are among them.
Manatee County Attorney Mickey Palmer said, if approved, the county would have to amend the Land Development Code, and that would take a series of three meetings, including a public announcement.
The issue will now be in the hands of Manatee County staff to come up with a workable solution. At last week's workshop and Tuesday's meeting, staff recommended against changing the ordinance and didn't appear too happy with the BOCC's decision.
CLUCK members will now wait to see what stipulations will be put on their keeping of backyard chickens.