The City Council meeting Monday afternoon only had one pressing issue up for discussion by the commissioners – the issue of whether or not to allow residents to keep chickens in their backyards. The council passed the ordinance through its first reading.

Under the ordinance, if it’s eventually passed, residents are allowed up to four chickens pending a permit from the City.

The ordinance makes it clear that no other similar birds are allowed, including roosters. Other rules include no selling chickens or eggs on one’s property, no slaughtering the chickens and all chickens must be kept in a secured coop, fenced area or something else similar.

Only 100 permits will be issued for new applicants, though there are 64 existing permit holders from a previous program that will be grandfathered in addition to that.

The ordinance was borne out of residents’ desire to grow their own food – exacerbated by reports of salmonella in farm-bred chickens, according to Commissioner Patty Sheehan.

Sheehan, who owns chickens herself, also said having backyard chickens is in line with the city’s previous ordinance allowing residents the ability to grow gardens in their yards. Manure from the chickens can be used to fertilize the gardens.

“It’s great for sustainability for Orlando,” she said.

The only dissenter was Commissioner Tony Ortiz, who said he had constituents who were against it for reasons not disclosed at Monday’s meeting.

“I met with the Neighborhood Leader Council several times,” he said. “They voted against it. I represent my community without bias or prejudice.”

There was a visiting class from Valencia Community College in attendance, and Mayor Buddy Dyer apologized that there weren’t more interesting things to talk about at the meeting.

“You should have been here when we legalized marijuana,” he joked, addressing the class.

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