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Manatee County considers allowing chickens in residential areas

MANATEE -- The Manatee County Commission on Monday agreed to ask its staff to research allowing chickens in residential neighborhoods.

The board planned to discuss the matter during an upcoming workshop session, in conjunction with an update of its Land Development Code, officials said.

Appearing on Monday in favor of the idea was Robert A. Kluson, of Bradenton, an extension agent at the University of Florida/IFAS program in Sarasota County, and a member of Manatee County’s chapter of the Citizens Lobbying for Urban Chicken Keeping, also known as CLUCK.

“I support consideration and approval of having backyard chickens,” he told the commission.

Commissioner John Chappie noted after the meeting that there are many more important issues, such as the economy and jobs, and health, safety and public welfare matters, but added, “This is about local government, and in local government, you do address issues like this.”

Cities like Gainesville, Gulfport and Sarasota have already approved ordinances allowing those in residential neighborhoods to keep chickens, “Just like backyard gardening,” Kluson said.

Commissioners have been receiving complaints from those who want to keep chickens, but are prohibited from doing so, The Herald reported last week.

Commissioner Robin DiSabatino said she opposed the idea, arguing that if the county allows chickens, why not pigs, goats or cows?

“Code enforcement has enough to do,” she said.

Kluson’s group plans a meeting at 6 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Central Library, 1301 Barcarrota Blvd. W., Bradenton.

For more information about keeping urban chickens, call 941-232-3090, or consult the website http://www.facebook.com/pages/Manatee-Cluck/200716266632260.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031.

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