THE ISSUE: Hernando County chicken ordinance.
OUR OPINION: Chickens don't belong in residential neighborhoods.
Once again county commissioners have strayed from reality and common sense in directing staff to develop an ordinance allowing the keeping of chickens in residentially zoned neighborhood. The purpose of zoning is to make sure incompatible uses are not allowed to intrude into specific land uses.
When people make a decision to purchase a home they do so by looking at the zoning classification of the land to make sure their investment and lifestyle are what they desire.
Now the commissioners see fit to break a covenant with the public by allowing the raising or keeping of chickens, once relegated to agriculturally zoned land, to be permitted in residentially zoned land.
We have many egg producers in the county and one can purchase farm-fresh eggs without inconveniencing surrounding neighbors.
Most parcels in Spring Hill are less than half or a third of an acre, and that places most people in proximity to one another. Besides the clucking that will go on there is a more worrisome aspect of public health. Chicken feed and the feces chickens produce are prime attractors of vermin.
That means we are inviting mice and rats to invade places they do not ordinarily inhabit. When the warm summer months are upon us there definitely will be a foul stench that will emanate from these fowl inhabitants.
Why, when the county is facing millions in a budget shortfall, is the county spending thousands of dollars on staff time, advertising, public hearings and legal advice when they can and should just say no?
What other encroachments are they opening the door to by degrading the zoning requirements that have been long-standing in the county? When the object of the county should be to improve the quality of life and help maintain property values, this effort is definitely a foul idea.