Looking for advice on my city's response to ordinance change.

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by Moogz, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. Moogz

    Moogz Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 22, 2010
    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?


    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>


    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.


    <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,



    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.

    <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!


    Below is Melbourne's section on permits for chickens (no roosters) as pets:
    > 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.
  2. Danaus29

    Danaus29 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2010
    I think a call to Animal Control would be next.

    I hope you get to keep a few as pets.
  3. The Yakima Kid

    The Yakima Kid Cirque des Poulets

    Good luck with Animal Control.

    I live in a town that suffers from Noah's Ark Syndrome. One may have up to five pets - but no more than two of a species with the possible exception of cats. I tried to apply for an exemption so I could obtain a miniature donkey handicapped assistance animal (I have balance issues and donkeys, horses, and ponies are the gold standard since equines tend to lean into pressure rather than pulling away, which makes them easier to train as support animals and less likely to make a mistake.)

    Our local animal control told me that I first had to get a permit from the Fish and Game - they thought that DONKEYS WERE WILD ANIMALS and couldn't be kept without a special permit - just like lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! When I persisted, it was suggested I consider a large dog because of the potential "smell" of a donkey. Anyone who has EVER walked in a barnyard knows that equine feces are far less odorous than dog feces - and that a wet donkey smells far better than a wet dog. It was unbelievable since the reason I wasn't choosing a dog in the first place is that both my husband and I are allergic to dogs and he becomes asthmatic around them.
  4. theFox

    theFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    Quote:To get those fine folks to come around you need only to mention that you have a disability and that you are more than happy to to see they get sued under the ADA.
  5. crabcakes

    crabcakes New Egg

    Dec 14, 2010
    signed up to post here, just wanted to let you know I'm over in Satellite and I'm gonna try and get away with 1-2 birds. Still need to figure out if they can fine first, then ask questions later. I'm all for complying if caught, but I don't want to pay a fine unless I refuse to comply first.
  6. Moogz

    Moogz Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 22, 2010
    Quote:crabcakes, i just sent an email to one of the brevard county code enforcement commissioners to ask about the county law as West Melbourne says they just basically adopt the countys law in regards to animal laws. The brevard county code supposedly says you are allowed 1 chicken (no roosters) per household which doesnt make much sense to me. Should atleast be able to have 2-3 as i dont see 1 chicken all by itself being all that happy and productive.

    so we'll see what happens... i'm definitely more worried than before as my hens are getting noisier now that they are laying..
  7. faithgirlfl

    faithgirlfl New Egg

    Dec 26, 2010
    WOW... I'm glad I found this post as I live on the West side of Dairy, barely in West Melbourne and I was actually planning on beginning work on my coop this weekend. I guess I read the ordinance wrong cause I thought we could have 1 bird. Please let me know if I can help in ANY way....

    Maggie <><
  8. missfire

    missfire Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 4, 2010
    Melbourne, Florida
    I live West of Minton in June Park area, Been at this address since 1957, I have been told different answers every time I call about what we can and cannot have. I have 1 1/2 acres. What irks me is across the street they can have horses pigs ect. so I get the sweet perfume from them, (which in truth I don't mind the stock yard smell) but supposedly we cannot have anything. I wish there was a diffinitive answer as to whom to call for the correct info. They say it's not online so you have to call. I'm thinking about renting a Lawyer for to get a real answer. I am told technically I live in the county not West Melbourne, we get the Sheriff when we call the Police

    Last edited: Jan 1, 2011
  9. faithgirlfl

    faithgirlfl New Egg

    Dec 26, 2010
    When you call let me know ... I think I might call W Melbourne tomorrow and just see what they say! They way I read the ordinance we can have 1 chicken.......
  10. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    It sounds like there are several of you in that area who could band together. And since it is pretty well universally considered inhumane to raise a chicken by itself, i think y'all might be able to get together and push the county to change the rules. Just a thought. I hope you're able to do it. Sometimes things don't change just because the commissioners, or whoever you have making the rules there, don't think anybody really cares about them.

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