Hey all, Below is some conversation between my city council / planning and myself. I've been looking into having them change their ordinances for West Melbourne, FL (where I'm at) to something similar to what our adjacent city of Melbourne has that allows residents to obtain a permit to have chickens as pets. Anyhow, please read through the conversation below and let me know if you have any tips as what i should do next. They are at least taking the time to respond to me.. The most recent response starts at the top. It's a start right? Stephen From <City Planning Director> Hello Stephen: I am the City Planning Director, and our department oversees the Zoning Code and a few others. I am glad that <head of city council person> included me with the correspondence to you all, so that we provide you with the best information. As you know, West Melbourne was once an agricultural area and you still see the house on the large acreage off Henry Avenue that is zoned R-A, Residential Agricultural, to allow the property owners to have the livestock you see there. Our Zoning Map and the layout of the town evolved to become more residential with smaller lots and our Zoning Code specifically still prohibits the keeping of livestock (chickens are considered livestock), unless in the R-A zoning district, which has a minimum lot size requirement of 1 acre, but the code also requires that the property be at least 2.5 acres in size and that the total of such animals not exceed 1 for the first acre, and 2 for each additional acre. However, <head of city council person> is correct in that the City (through another of its codes), also follows the County's "Animals" codes which allows forone chicken, not a rooster. Animal laws evolve over time because the breeding of animals, their size and other traits may change, as well as changes in public perception. Even though Melbourne allows chickens as pets and has written a specific code to allow this, at this time, the City of West Melbourne will continue to: 1) Allow the County through Animal Control to determine what animals can be pets and the quantity of these in accordance with State law; and 2) Require livestock to be on larger lots and to have a minimum separation distance of 100 feet to other homes. We do not distinguish in our codes that chickens can be family pets (allowed in all single family and multiple family areas) instead of just being strictly livestock animals. Yours is the first of this type of request that I have received. As time allows, I will talk to Melbourne to find out if there are other codes to protect neighboring residents, their thought process for creating their codes, and anything else that would helpful for us to know from a regulatory standpoint. Feel free to call me directly if you would like to discuss this further. <City Planning Directory> Stephen, First of all you are residing in an R-1B zoning area which is a single family residential district and doesn't allow any type of farm animals, which includes fowl animals. The only zoning district that allows any type of farm animals or fowl in the city is the R-A zoning district. and even then the limit is one per half acre. The city has also adopted some of the county's ordinance on farm animals and they to limit the numbers to one chicken (no roosters) unless in the agricultural zoned district. As far as getting a change to the allowed restrictions in the R-1B zoning requirements you would need to go throw our city Planning Department who would then be able to advise you on how and if this proposed change could be presented to the Planning and Zoning Board for consideration. Other restrictions you may want to look into are what your HOA allows in your community. I hope this information answers your inquiry. Regards, <head city council person>, Thanks for the prompt reply. I would be interested in no more than 2 or 3 hens at max. They would strictly be raised as pets only. I am in the Wingate/Stratford point area of West Melbourne. My property is mainly fenced in and the hens would also be contained in a pen of some sort (I think that is a requirement for other city ordinances I've looked at). Please let me know if you need any more information and thanks again for taking the time to look into this, Regards, Stephen On Fri, Oct 22, 2010 at 6:44 AM, <head city council person> wrote: Good morning Stephen, I am doing some research on this matter. I do have some questions for you. How many chickens do you plan on having and where do you reside in the City of West Melbourne or plan on keeping the chickens? Are you raising them as pets or for selling? If you can answer these questions I can then direct you on what you may or may not be able to change or do. Thanks, <Code Enforcement Official> From me, Hello <city code enforcement>, I recently contacted a city council member to find out about West Melbourne's city ordinance on keeping chickens as pets. I believe she forwarded the request to you and followed up to let me know it wasn't currently allowed. I was just wondering what steps I would need to take to propose (or add) a change to the ordinances. I've noticed in the City of Melbourne's Code they have the following section containing information about obtaining permits for certain animals treated as pets. Would it be possible for the city of West Melbourne to adopt something like this? I really appreciate time/advice you can give to look into the matter. Thanks! Stephen Below is Melbourne's section on permits for chickens (no roosters) as pets: > > ARTICLE II. ANIMAL PERMITS > > Sec. 5-13. Purpose. > The intent of the city council in adopting this article is to > recognize that the Zoning Code prohibits the keeping, housing, or > boarding of horses, cattle, livestock, wild fowl, or poultry; however, > there are certain animals, reptiles, or fowl that are kept as family > pets. > (Ord. No. 2001-31, § 1, 6-26-01) > > Sec. 5-14. Authority. > The city clerk, under the direction of the city manager, is hereby > authorized and directed to administer the animal permitting process. > Permits may be issued for certain animals, reptiles, or fowl in > accordance with this article. > (Ord. No. 2001-31, § 1, 6-26-01) > > Sec. 5-15. Jurisdiction by state. > The city will not issue permits for animals, reptiles and fowl > regulated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. > Any person in the city who keeps an animal, reptile or fowl regulated > by the state must possess the appropriate license and follow all > applicable statutes, rules, and regulations.