Holley By the Sea backyard chicken owners fear HOA may ban their feathery friends

Article Courtesy of  The Pensacola News Journal

By Tom McLaughlin

Published October 20, 2022


Residents of the sprawling Holley By The Sea subdivision are crying "fowl" over recent steps by their homeowners association to limit, and some think eliminate, the keeping of chickens.


There are about 100 residents among the 3,500 or so living in Holley By The Sea who own chickens, according to resident Mark Chapman. He and his wife started raising them in 2012 after reading an article about backyard chickens in Pensacola. At present they care for four birds.

"My chickens are pretty quiet. All my neighbors know I have them, since we share eggs with them, and I'm pretty vocal about it on our neighborhood Facebook page," he said. "Chickens really are pretty quiet, they don't make any more noise than a cat or a dog."

Chapman said there are also no problems in Holley By the Sea with poorly maintained coops or unpleasant odors emanating from them.

"Chicken owners are very conscious about maintaining their coops. We want our chickens to stay healthy," he said.

Chicken ownership had not been a problem until fairly recently, Chapman said, when the latest board of directors, headed by board president Bryan Howell, decided to make it one.
Chickens belonging to Holley By The Sea residents Mark and Karen Chapman forage for insects in the couple's yard Thursday.

Mark Chapmn, a longtime resident of the Holley By The Sea subdivision in Southern Santa Rosa County, tends to his chicken Thursday Residents fear their homeowners associationis seeking to limit or possobly ban chickens from the neighborhood.


"The HOA tried to create a rule to limit the numbers before we all showed up en masse," Chapman said. "We thought we had killed it."


The board's latest tactic appears to be limiting the size of the chicken coops people can have in their yards, said Chapman, the only chicken owner willing to speak on the record.


In a statement to the News Journal, Holley By the Sea General Manager April Salazar declined on the board's behalf to comment on the chicken issue.


"The board of directors cannot individually speak on an item that has not been approved by the entire board," Salazar said. "At this time there is nothing the association would be able to report on the item."

A subdivision resident, identified on Facebook as Allison Watson, was ordered at a Thursday meeting to reduce the size of her chicken house to 64 square feet and lower its roof to no higher than 6 feet.

Chapman said he stood up at the meeting to protest the board's treatment of Watson, because the same group had given him a variance to keep his coop roof at 7 feet.

According to Chapman and other chicken owners, who converse with one another on various Facebook pages, Howell has made statements to the effect he wants to ban chicken ownership outright within Holley By The Sea. A Nov. 8 meeting has been scheduled to discuss the issue.

Chapman said he's not sure why, if the board intends to ban chicken ownership, it is insistent on regulating coop sizes. And he's not sure what is motivating the board of directors to move against the chicken owners in the first place.

"Since about 2019 these people, quite frankly, seem hell bent on creating rules to tell us how to live our lives," he said.