Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa to revisit rules on backyard chickens

9-year-old Sofia Starkey reacts with surprise as one of her five Rhode Island Red chickens jumps into the air to catch a morsel of food in the back yard of her Seminole Heights home in Tampa.

Times (2009)

9-year-old Sofia Starkey reacts with surprise as one of her five Rhode Island Red chickens jumps into the air to catch a morsel of food in the back yard of her Seminole Heights home in Tampa.

TAMPA — Following a national trend to eat locally — at a backyard level — Tampa's City Council is taking a look at urban chickens.

The city's code effectively bans keeping chickens in back yards, but it's only enforced when a neighbor complains.

Last April, hen owners appealed to the City Council, which voted to amend the ordinance.

Now, 10 months later, council members will take a look at a proposed revision Thursday that would allow chickens under a definition of domestic or companion animals, with these stipulations:

• Hens only (no roosters allowed).

• One chicken per 1,000 square feet of land, rounded down, and not more than 10 total.

• Must be kept in an enclosed area (fenced or walled) at all times.

• A coop must be on the property, 10 feet from any house.

That means that for a standard city lot of 50 by 50 feet, the revision would allow an owner two hens on the property.

That sounds great, said Susan Ramos, who raised hens along the Hillsborough River in West Tampa when her kids were little and prodded the city to change the rules last year.

Under the current city code, in effect since 1990, chickens are considered farm animals and while allowed, they are effectively banned by a restriction. The code requires each chicken, up to five, to be kept in an enclosed area of 5,000 square feet.

With a standard 2,500-square-foot lot, an owner of two lots could keep one hen — but here's the kicker: Chickens must be kept within an enclosed area at least 200 feet from neighboring homes.

That's two-thirds the length of a football field. It makes most Tampa chickens outlaws.

While many consider the birds pets that produce fresh eggs, to others they are a nuisance. Some say they're noisy. Others worry that fowl may be unsanitary and create health problems.

Meanwhile, free-roaming chickens in the city, including the ones in Ybor City, are protected under another ordinance that designates Tampa a sanctuary for all birds, including "wildfowl."

Elisabeth Parker can be reached at eparker@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3431.

Chickens on agenda

Tampa City Council members will meet at 9 a.m. Thursday at 315 E Kennedy Blvd. They will discuss, among other things, amending rules for keeping chickens. Residents will have the opportunity to speak. To see the meeting agenda, go to tampagov.net, click on "City Council" and then "agendas."

Tampa to revisit rules on backyard chickens 02/14/13 [Last modified: Thursday, February 14, 2013 11:52am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Once 'angry' about Obamacare, Republican David Jolly came to see it as 'safety net'

    Blogs

    Former Congressman David Jolly, who ran against Obamacare in 2013, said in an interview Monday night that he now considers it a "safety net."

  2. Five children hospitalized after chlorine release at Tampa pool store

    Accidents

    Five children were sickened at a pool store north of Tampa on Monday after a cloud of chlorine was released, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.

  3. Deputies find unidentified decomposing body in Dunedin canal

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found an unidentified male body floating in a Dunedin canal Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

  4. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  5. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108