MANATEE -- The Manatee County Commission Tuesday directed its staff to draw up an ordinance that would allow people to legally raise chickens in residential neighborhoods.
The board's vote was 4-3, with Chairman Larry Bustle and Commissioners John Chappie, Carol Whitmore and Michael Gallen in favor, and Robin DiSabatino, Vanessa Baugh and Betsy Benac against.
Commissioners said they planned to review the ordinance at a later date.
A number of speakers addressed the board on the issue, pro and con.
Vic Coveduck said he opposed the idea for health reasons and because chicken coops in most yards would create a bad smell and atmosphere.
Ronald Sprague said he had kept eight hens for more than two years, but had never had a complaint about them.
Robert A. Kluson, a co-leader of Manatee County's chapter of the Citizens Lobbying for Urban Chicken Keeping, also known as CLUCK, said he hoped that a 2011 moratorium would be reinstated on citations for those keeping backyard chickens.
Under the current Land Development Code, chick
ens are illegal in residentially-zoned neighborhoods, officials have said.
The Holmes Beach City Commission recently OK'd chickens under certain circumstances, said Holmes Beach City Commissioner Jean Peelen, adding, "We do have regulations to protect neighborhoods from any intrusion."
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745 7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.com.