Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Chickens can't roost in Safety Harbor

A proposed rule would have allowed four hens but banned noisy roosters.

Kathleen Flynn | Times (2006)

A proposed rule would have allowed four hens but banned noisy roosters.

SAFETY HARBOR — City leaders are making it clear: Chickens must go somewhere else to roost.

In a 5-0 decision Monday night, the Safety Harbor City Commission rejected a proposed city law that would have allowed residents to have chickens as pets.

"The thought of one of my neighbors getting chickens ...," said Commissioner Mary Lynda Williams. "Having either the odor or the clucking. … I could not, in all honesty, be in favor of this."

Mayor Andy Steingold agreed and said that it would pit neighbors against one another. Also, he said he hasn't been "bombarded" by residents wanting to have chickens as pets.

"What would be next?" Steingold asked. "You can keep one cow on your property, then you can have organic milk?"

Commissioners agreed that Tammy Vrana, a member of the city's Planning and Zoning Board, was correct in bringing city officials' attention that there was unregulated cock-a-doodle-doo-ing amongst them.

"Tammy did the right thing to bring it forward," Williams said. "There's just no way I can support this."

Under the proposed ordinance, Safety Harbor residents would have been able to keep up to four hens on their property. The henhouse or coop would have to be in a back or side yard, and the area where the chickens lived would have to be screened with opaque fencing.

The sale of eggs or other products derived from the chickens would have been prohibited. Odors from the chickens, chicken manure and other related substances could not be detectable at the home's property line.

Roosters begin sounding their "cock-a-doodle-doo" alarm at the crack of dawn. Therefore, they would not have been allowed.

In addition, the ordinance would not have superseded the covenants of residential homeowner associations, which often prohibit chickens, cows or any farm animals. Between 70 and 80 percent of all Safety Harbor single-family homes are guided by a covenant, said Ron Rinzivillo, a city senior planner.

Commissioner Nancy Besore was all for the idea of chickens until the majority of the residents who contacted her about the proposed ordinance opposed it. Besore said she went with the majority.

Several residents spoke at the meeting against the ordinance. They said that while roosters crow, hens cluck and that clucking is just as audible as the early morning crowing.

But resident Don Lavallee challenged the commission's thinking about the barnyard fowl. He said chickens are far safer than dogs.

"Hens have never chased anybody, never bit anybody and never peed on anybody's yard," Lavallee said. "How can you allow dogs and not my gentle hens?"

Contact Demorris A. Lee at [email protected] or (727) 445-4174.

Chickens can't roost in Safety Harbor 08/16/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 7:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Black entrepreneur says city stiffing him on project after he endorsed Rick Baker


    ST. PETERSBURG — A prominent African-American resident says his endorsement of mayoral candidate Rick Baker has led city officials to freeze him out of a major construction project along the historic "Deuces" stretch of 22nd Street S.

  2. Roosevelt Blvd closed at I-275 after truck hauling crane hits overpass


    ST. PETERSBURG — A truck transporting a construction crane hit the Interstate 275 overpass at Roosevelt Boulevard Tuesday.

  3. Pasco students, 12 and 15, faces weapons, threat charges


    Two Pasco County students from different schools were arrested Tuesday after one brought weapons onto campus and the other threatened a shooting, according to sheriff's deputies.

  4. It's official: Hillsborough high schools move to 8:30 a.m. start time, elementary schools to go earlier


    TAMPA — Hillsborough County high schools will start an hour later next year, beginning the day at 8:30 a.m. and ending at 3:25 p.m., the School Board decided Tuesday in a 6-0 vote.

    The Hillsborough County School Board has decided to end a compressed bus schedule that caused an estimated 12,000 children to get to school late every day. Under the new schedule, high schools will start at 8:30 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m. Elementary schools will start at 7:40 a.m. and middle schools at 9:25 a.m. [Times files]