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After the success of a pilot program, Winter Garden is moving forward with allowing backyard chickens at select properties. At the most recent City Commission meeting on November 8, they approved the ordinance’s first reading.

The temporary backyard chicken program ran from April 2016 to December 2017. It allowed up to 25 temporary city permits which allowed people living on single-family lots to have up to four chickens in their backyard.

During this pilot period, the city had seven applicants and granted five permits. At the commission meeting, Community Development Director Steve Pash motioned that the city goes ahead and establishes permanent regulations that can be amended later as changes arise.

The main goal of the backyard chicken program is to allow residents the opportunity to participate in backyard food production. The proposed ordinance outlaws the selling and slaughter of chickens, the selling of eggs and the breeding of chickens for commercial use.

There are other standards that need to be met to be approved for a permit such as property size and the condition of any chicken coop on the premises. If it does not violate the terms of their HOA, any individual can apply for the $50 permit.

In addition to meeting all the previously mentioned requirements, applicants also have to complete a class on how to raise chickens. These classes are offered by both the Orange Country Agricultural Extension Service and the University of Florida Extension Office.

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