Holmes Beach close to approving backyard chickens

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ANNA MARIA ISLAND, Fla. - Holmes Beach is tourist area known for its pristine beaches and quint vacations rentals.  But, a new city ordinance may put them one step closer to being the referred to as a cluck-friendly town.

"The chicken ordinance! Our commission for the most part thought it was a good idea for the island," says Holmes Commissioner Marvin Grossman.

Commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of the 1st reading for the ordinance, which would allow people to keep chickens in their backyards.

Supporters of the measure say one of the benefits will be the ability to get fresh eggs.  "I thought it would be a chance for people to reconnect with the food source," said Grossman.

But others say the drawbacks far outweigh those benefits.  "We are opening up ourselves to a lot of things we don't need to have; the care of the chickens, the smell of the chickens, you bring other animals in that will be trying to get into the chicken coops," said Commissioner Morton.

And commissioner Morton isn't alone.  Several tourist we spoke to says they don't approve.

"I thought it was ridiculous that they will even consider having chickens or have anyone raise chickens in such a beautiful community such as Anna Maria Island, " said Anthony Paone. 

"I think chickens are seriously funny to be raised here. I don't get it!" added his wife  Cecilia Paone.

But despite the opposition, Commissioner Grossman says more people are in favor of the measure than against it.  He also say that safe guards will be in place to regulate the law.  "The ordinance is pretty clear about no roosters.  People are only allowed to have four chickens, they have to keep them in certain types of chicken coops, so its not really going to disturb anybody, " said Grossman.

Still, Morton says those safe guards aren't good enough.  "Its still in the wrong neighborhood.  We're not a farm."

The final vote on the chicken ordinance will be at the next regular commission meeeting. The measure is expected to pass.