County stays the course on backyard chicken ban

Published: Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 06:51 PM.

Okaloosa County commissioners have rejected a bid to allow backyard poultry in residential areas.

Commissioner Nathan Boyles has championed the cause since late July, when he learned that Mary Esther resident Torrie Cox's chickens placed her in violation of county code. But he failed to sway fellow board members with arguments that prohibiting backyard chickens in residential areas amounts to “over-regulation.”

Commissioner Dave Parisot based his objection on growing up on a farm in Illinois.

Commissioner Wayne Harris said he grew up under the city ordinances of St. Louis, Missouri, and also couldn’t support chickens in residential areas.

Okaloosa County Growth Management Director Elliot Kampert told the board that other Northwest Florida areas, including Pensacola and Escambia, are growing more tolerant of backyard chickens.

He said Crestview and Fort Walton Beach city leaders also have had discussions about such an allowance.

Boyles said he will continue to work with Cox and county staff to find a solution.

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