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Pilot program for backyard hens in Neptune Beach takes step forward
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Pilot program for backyard hens in Neptune Beach takes step forward

Pilot program for backyard hens in Neptune Beach takes step forward

Pilot program for backyard hens in Neptune Beach takes step forward

Neptune Beach is the only Jacksonville community that bans backyard chickens but on Monday night, a proposal that could possibly change that was moved forward.

Four out of five council members, including the mayor, voted to move the backyard hens pilot program forward.

In the pilot program, there are 25 permits at $50 each and, to apply, the person must live in a single-family home with at least a 5,000-square-foot lot and only five hens are allowed.


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The pilot program would last 18 months and within a year, the city would review it.

"I’m just hoping they will turn it down. It doesn't make any sense," Neptune Beach resident Sarah Bopp said.

People opposed to the idea think backyard chickens would become a health hazard.

"When you are talking chickens or any kind of fowl, you are talking salmonella," Bopp said.

And besides noise and odor, another concern is unwanted pests.

"If you have chickens, you have food and so if you have that, you have mice and rats show up and snakes come in to eat the mice," Bopp said.

"You're going to have pests no matter what you do. You just have to find a better way to contain and keep them out," Neptune Beach resident Renee Garrett said.


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Garrett said she thinks backyard hens would benefit the area.

"It just promotes that community, that sense of giving," Garrett said.

And it could become a learning tool.

"It gets people more involved with how their food is made," supporter Genora Crain-Orth said.

The backyard hen proposal will probably be brought up in at least another meeting before the council votes on the pilot program.

Some council members also mentioned that they are concerned about code enforcement, lot size and how permits would be revoked.

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