A 4-1 vote moves Holmes Beach closer to a community that allows laying hens.
Like the city of Sarasota in 2011 and other urban areas across the country, Holmes Beach commissioners appear poised to join the movement allowing people to raise chickens for eggs.
Commission Chair Jean Peelen and Commissioners Marvin Grossman, Judy Titsworth and David Zaccagnino voted Feb. 26 in favor of the ordinance on first reading. Commissioner Pat Morton voted no.
A second reading and final vote will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 12, at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive.
“I have no problem with fresh eggs and chickens,” said Morton, who indicated he’d raised many chickens. “There’s always this issue that comes out. You got 98 percent who do everything they’re supposed to do and 2 percent who’ll create problems.”
Why create problems for code enforcement? asked Morton, adding that it may open the door to other farm animals, such as pigs and cows.
Titsworth said code enforcement officer David Forbes favored the ordinance.
“I think it’s a very good thing to implement,” said Monti, once a chicken-farmer. “If a city like Sarasota could do it, little old Anna Maria Island can do it. Pulitzer laying hens don’t make a lot of noise. It’s the roosters that make a lot of noise.
“I just think it’s a progressive step. I don’t think it’s a negative step,” he added.
The rules under the ordinance are:
• No more than four chickens may be kept at a residence.
• Roosters are prohibited.
• No person shall slaughter chickens.
• The chickens shall be kept in a movable and covered or fenced-in coop.
• No coop will be allowed in front yards, nor may it be closer than 10 feet to any adjacent property or 25 feet from any neighboring home.
• No odors allowed.
• Enclosures and feed must be kept from pests and infestation.
• The sale of eggs or other chicken products is prohibited.
• No dog or cat that kills a chicken, for that reason alone, will be considered a dangerous animal.
• The city rule will not supersede private property restrictions.
“We’ve grown away from food sources,” said Grossman after the meeting. “It is a connection to our past and an opportunity to connect with an original (food) source. If I had kids, I would do it.”