If you live in a community or neighborhood in Florida that has a Homeowners Association, you already KNOW what the acronymic title above means. Many communities in Florida, especially ones with HOAs, have myriad layers of rules for the homeowner to abide by. You will especially find this to be true if you desire to establish a family homestead that produces agricultural products or raises food animals, including chickens.
An introduction to changing Brevard County code by mentioning HOAs is NOT MEANT to be discouraging. It is only meant to try and raise awareness of the complexity of rules and regulations that many of us live under every day. In fact, stop reading NOW if you prefer to remain blissfully unaware of the web of regulations in which you are ALREADY enmeshed! I began to see just the edges of this convoluted web when I began asking questions about growing my own food in Brevard County Florida. The rules that govern the use of your property BEGINS WITH covenants and deed restrictions then progresses with city, county, state and ultimately federal rules. These are all manifested as resolutions, regulations, ordinances, statutes, mandates and laws, just to name a few.
If you live in an area that is controlled by a homeowner’s association, then you probably bought that property for the amenities that it offered – proximity to a golf course, tennis courts, a community swimming pool, low maintenance / zero lot line properties, etc. If that is what appealed to you originally, then PLEASE be happy with your amenities. If you are considering raising a group of chickens, then your first option is to buy agricultural property. If you cannot afford a large tract of land in an agricultural zone, then this is certainly where RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY zones could be IMPROVED to accommodate a more ecologically conscious and responsible lifestyle.
AVID HOMESTEAD seeks to encourage and provide information for people who wish to have a more basic and sustainable living style. One of our first goals is to promote changing existing county codes in Brevard County Florida to allow backyard chickens on non-agriculturally zoned property.
It all started one day, while you were standing there in your backyard basking in the beautiful Florida sunshine thinking to yourself “Wouldn’t it be cool if my kids could really see what the start of a life cycle looks like?” or perhaps “ How hard can it be to learn to grow my own food? Maybe I could start out with just a few chickens ”. NICE SENTIMENTS, but YOUR TAX DOLLARS are hard at work with all those paid administrators and officials making rules to prohibit or inhibit just that!
Currently, only property that is zoned for AGRICULTURAL USE ( PA, AGR, AU, ARR ) is permitted to have or raise CHICKENS. ALL OTHER RESIDENTIAL ZONING Code that applies to property under 2.5 acres strictly forbids ALL FOWL. Much of Brevard County RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY ALLOWS a MAXIMUM of ONE CHICKEN or FOWL. This bears repeating … County Code allows for ONE LONELY CHICKEN – more than one will result in a citation of CODE VIOLATION. Roosters are forbidden completely.
Contrary to these current rules, homeowners with as little as .25 acres should be able to provide healthy, educational food production alternatives for their families. If you are unsure what is allowed on your property, the easiest way to find out is for you to do some basic research. Review any covenants or deed restrictions that may exist on your property. Next, see what type of ZONING CLASSIFICATION your property has. This information is available from the Brevard County Planning and Zoning Department located at the Government Center Complex on Judge Fran Jamieson Way in Viera, Florida. The phone number for their office is 321-633-2070.
Though you may live in an area that SEEMS poultry and livestock friendly, be sure to check on your specific zoning allowances. The ZONING CLASSIFICATIONS that we are seeking to amend in BREVARD COUNTY for chickens are: GU, REU, RR-1, SEU, RA and RU. Areas that allow HORSES do not necessarily allow chickens or other small livestock. Currently, FARM ANIMALS AND FOWL involve a completely separate set of rules which are found under the particular sections of code regarding zoning status which are at times ambiguous and contradictory. Just like an HOA, be aware that CODE ENFORCEMENT is COMPLAINT DRIVEN. Also be aware that the interpretation and enforcement of code can be largely SUBJECTIVE in certain instances.
AVID HOMESTEAD seeks to establish a clear right for owning MULTIPLE fowl or chickens on residential property with minimal, reasonable guidelines. Basic, common sense homesteading and the ability to provide for your family SHOULD NOT require PERMISSION from local government OR permits, red tape and excessive fees.
We have a petition that you are able to sign 1) if you live in Brevard County Florida and support changing code here to allow the raising of chickens and small livestock on non-agricultural property 2) if you support what we are doing and desire change in your area. The more signatures we have, the more community support we can show that will allow us to precipitate a change in perception and therefore a much needed rule change with the support of community leaders.
For more information on HOA = SOL, check out how the local BOY SCOUTS FOOD DRIVE for the local food bank was prohibited from entering the HAMMOCK LAKES PARK subdivision in West Melbourne Florida by their HOA. Florida Today video for 11 – 10 – 2011 OR this entertaining article at:
All government information and phone numbers presented in this article are a matter of public record.
Margaret Goudelock was a journalism major at the University of Mississippi before she transferred to the University of North Texas to pursue a more lucrative degree in Art History, Painting and French. There is a magnetic sign for Avid Homestead on the door of her truck and a small soap-box in the back that she will happily step up on with very little provocation. She is joined in the flag waving effort to get your attention by her husband, Toby Napier – long-wearing sound board and brilliant webmaster for AVID HOMESTEAD.com. Ms. Goudelock is the mother of two beautiful girls who are both enthusiastic, creative and love animals. It is for their continued growth and the preservation of a more natural way of life that we strive.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO SIGN OUR ONLINE PETITION. Comments on our articles are always welcome.