TEMPLE TERRACE - In a city known to embrace small town values, Temple Terrace might be ready to explore allowing residents to own backyard chickens.
This week the Temple Terrace City Council asked city staffers to research zoning laws springing up in other municipalities to allow urban farms or a limited number of chickens in residential neighborhoods.
Board members made it clear their request was not an endorsement for drafting regulations to permit non-domestic animals. They were simply responding to a suggestion made by Fawzi Hindi, a resident who lives in 12000 block of 53rd Street.
Hindi, who moved from Pittsburgh to Temple Terrace a few months ago, asked the council to consider changing its land regulations to allow small urban farms. He wanted a waiver, saying he already has the support of neighbors to raise some backyard farm animals
Hindi, a father of three, said he and his family were excited about moving to the Tampa area because they had been following news reports about a growing number of West Central Florida communities approving laws to allow backyard chickens.
Several cities, including Tampa, St. Petersburg and Dade City, have approved ordinances to permit urban chickens. Similar laws have been approved or are being considered in Pasco and Hernando counties.
Hindi would like his children to experience living alongside farm animals and the eggs they produce, he said.
Hindi, who lives on about 1.2 acres, believes his property is large enough to accommodate chickens and maybe a goat, sheep and lamb.
Councilman Grant Rimbey, who is active in the city's preservation and community garden activities, said he thought Hindi's idea had merit.
Rimbey pointed to some of the city's large lot sizes. He also suggested backyard chickens would be a way to attract more eco-friendly young families.
The other council members took a more cautious approach.
"Chickens can create a lot of problems for a lot of neighbors," Boss said.
Councilwoman Alison Fernandez agreed.
"The reason livestock has not been welcome in the city is noise, smell and dirt with bacteria," she said.
Council members David Pogorilich and Eddie Vance said they disagreed with Hindi's request for a waiver, saying they planned to see what the city staff came up with.
Mayor Frank Chillura offered Hindi slight encouragement.
"The door isn't shut" on the issue, Chillura said.