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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018 4 weeks ago

Winter Garden moves forward on backyard chicken program

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The success of the city’s pilot program gave city staff and commissioners the confidence to officially establish a backyard chicken program.
by: Gabby Baquero News Editor

Winter Garden residents soon might hear some clucking coming from their neighbors' backyards.

During the Nov. 8 Winter Garden City Commission meeting, city leaders approved the first reading of Ordinance 18-43 — a proposed ordinance that seeks to officially create a backyard chicken program.

The commission first implemented a temporary backyard chicken program in April 2016 that expired in December 2017. The pilot program allowed the city to grant up to 25 temporary permits allowing residents who live on single-family lots to keep up to four chickens in their backyard.  

The pilot program resulted in a total of seven applications and five issued permits, Community Development Director Steve Pash informed commissioners during the meeting.

Because of the program’s success, Pash recommended the city move forward on establishing the regulations as a permanent program that can be amended later, if the need arises.

The intent of the program is to give residents living on single-family properties in select zoning areas the option to engage in backyard food production through the keeping and raising of up to four chickens to produce eggs solely for the property owners’ consumption. 

The selling and slaughter of chickens, the selling of eggs and the breeding of chickens for commercial purposes is prohibited by the proposed ordinance. Additional regulations include the size, space requirements and condition of the chicken coop enclosures.

“We’ve had absolutely no issues with it, so we’re now recommending that those same regulations be put into the Code (of Ordinances),” Pash said.

Assuming it does not violate any applicable HOA rules, residents living in a detached, single-family property zoned R-1A, R-1, R-1B, R-2, R-4, R-5, or PUD are eligible to apply for the permit, which costs $50.  

The city will issue no more than 25 permits, which will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. However, if a resident chooses to leave the program, the city will be allowed to issue a permit to another qualified applicant.

Applicants will need to prove they meet program requirements and display proof they have successfully completed a class on the care and raising of chickens at either the Orange County Agricultural Extension Service or the University of Florida Extension Office. 

IN OTHER NEWS

  • City commissioners approved the second reading of Ordinance 18-25, which amends certain sections of the city’s Code of Ordinances concerning wetlands, wetland jurisdictional limit determinations, uses allowed in wetlands, and wetland buffer yard requirements.
  • The commission authorized the award of a $50,000 contract to RedZone Robotics, Inc., to take on the project of assessing the condition of the city’s sewer pipes using self-operating sewer inspection robots.
  • City leaders approved a $278,244 purchase of a new automated side-load garbage truck from Nextran Truck Sales and a  $220,528 purchase of a new Tymco Street Sweeper from Container Systems and Equipment Inc with monies from the Florida Sheriff’s Association & Florida Association of Counties Contract. The new sweeper will replace the city’s older 2005 model.
  • Winter Garden commissioners accepted the 2018 Great Places in Florida People’s Choice Award from the American Institute of Architects.

Gabby is the news editor for the West Orange Times and Windermere Observer newspapers. Have a story tip? Contact her at (352) 448-5856 or at [email protected]....

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