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Posted on: February 28, 2022

Backyard Chicken Program Gets Final Approval From Council

Backyard chickens

In February, Cocoa City Council unanimously approved Cocoa's Backyard Chicken Program which will allow residents, who follow the permitting process and get final approval, to keep up to 4 chickens on an occupied single-family residence.

Residents who occupy a single-family detached residence in the proper zoning districts will be allowed to apply for a permit through the City's Planning and Zoning division. Currently, residents who follow the terms and conditions listed below, can call Planning and Zoning at (321) 433-8535 to obtain a permit application. Staff will soon be placing the application online on the City's webpage.

Backyard Chicken Program Terms and Conditions: (For the complete ordinance 14-2021 visit, https://cocoa.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=5460285&GUID=F98DE698-58E2-4C83-AECE-C91F4BC517DD&Options=&Search=&FullText=1)

  • Residents can maintain up to four (4) chickens on a lot or parcel occupied by a single family detached residence in the RU-1-7, RU-1-7a, and the RU-1-10 Residential zoning districts. (You can verify your zoning district by viewing the interactive zoning map.) 
  • Only female chickens (hens) are permitted.
  • Owners must still follow applicable restrictive covenants or homeowner's association rules and regulations.
  • A permit application must be processed with the City of Cocoa's Planning and Zoning Division and approval must be obtained prior to the installation of any backyard chickens. 
  • There is a $50.00 non-refundable fee to apply for a Backyard Chicken Program permit.
  • If applicant is not the owner of the property, the owner must provide authorization and consent to the application.
  • Only one permit will be allowed per single-family property.
  • Persons applying for a permit must submit a sketch showing the location of the proposed chicken coop and enclosure and must demonstrate that all other requirements of the ordinance are met. (The City will conduct site inspections to determine that the subject property meets the requirements of the ordinance.)
  • Persons applying for a permit under this section must provide proof of successful completion of a University of Florida Agricultural Extension Service class, or equivalent, on the care and raising of chickens. (Class schedule for the UF/IFAS extension in Cocoa.)
  • Chickens must be kept within a coop or enclosure and may not be released or set free to roam unless under the direct supervision of the owner in compliance with this section. Such roaming must be confined to the backyard of the subject property. 
  • Ducks, geese, turkeys, peafowl, male chickens/roosters, or any other poultry or fowl are not allowed under the provisions of this section. 
  • Chickens must be kept for personal use only. Selling chickens, eggs, feathers or chicken manure, or the breeding of chickens for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited. 
  • Chickens may not be bred or slaughtered on premises. Chickens shall not be used or trained for the purpose of fighting for amusement, sport or financial gain. 
  • The coop and enclosure must be screened from neighboring property. Screening must be accomplished using an opaque fence and/or landscape screen (existing vegetation may be used if sufficient enough to create an opaque screen). 
  • All applicable building permits must be obtained prior to constructing fences and the coop and enclosures to house chickens. 
  • Deceased chickens must be properly disposed of within 24-hours of expiring and in accordance with Florida law. Permit holders may contact the University of Florida Agricultural Extension Service office for requirements regarding the proper disposal methods. 
  • No manure may be allowed to accumulate on the floor of the coop or ground. Permit holders must implement a manure management program. 
  • Chicken coops and fence enclosures must be located in the rear/back yard (behind the home). No coop or enclosure will be allowed in any front or side yard. The coop and enclosure must be at least five (5) feet from the single family structure, a minimum of ten (10) feet from the rear or side property lines, a minimum of twenty (20) feet from any side street, and a minimum twenty (20) feet from any neighboring residential homes.
  • The coop must be covered and ventilated, and a fenced enclosure/run is required. The coop and enclosure must be completely secured from predators, including all openings, ventilation holes, doors, and gates. Fencing or roofing is required over the enclosure in addition to the coop, in order to protect the chickens from predators. The coop must also be tied down for wind resistance. 
  • All stored feed must be kept in a rodent and predator-proof container or be kept inside a secured structure. 
  • The coop must provide a minimum of four (4) square feet per chicken; a minimum of five (5) square feet of run per chicken, and be of sufficient size to permit free movement of the chickens. The coop may not be taller than six (6) feet, measured from the natural grade, and may be easily accessible for cleaning and maintenance. Coops may not exceed a maximum of 150 square feet. 
  • Chicken coops and enclosures must be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition at all times including dry bedding materials. Activities permitted by this section must be conducted in a manner that does not create any nuisance consisting of odor, noise or pests, or contribute to any other nuisance condition. There shall be no perceptible odor that is objectionable, under the reasonable person standard, to neighboring properties emanating from the chickens or the enclosure. 
  • In a public health emergency declared by the Brevard County Health Department including, but not limited to, an outbreak of Avian Flu or West Nile Virus, immediate corrective action may be required in accordance with applicable public health regulations and procedures. Any person issued a permit under this section shall be deemed to have consented to compliance with such required corrective action. 

All of these terms and conditions will be monitored by Code Enforcement.

City of Cocoa Planning and Zoning...
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