VALPARAISO, Fla. (WKRG) — A community-based petition to change the poultry and livestock ordinance in Valparaiso, Fla. was denied by lack of a motion at the city commission meeting.

Hundreds of residents and county supporters signed a petition asking for permission to own up to six hens per household in the city limits, not including roosters.

The petition spearheaded by Missy Weakley stated the ordinance change could help combat the rising egg prices and shortage seen at stores nationwide.

“Chickens will cut down the pest population, specifically mosquitos and ticks, they provide manure for gardens, educational opportunities for children,” said Weakley in an interview with WKRG News 5. “And most importantly healthier eggs and more available eggs than ones obtained at the grocery store.”

At the March 13 commissioner meeting, Weakly discussed research she conducted about the effect chicken could have on property values. Weakly said the Okaloosa County Tax office said chicken does not affect property value any different than having a cat or dog on the property.

“The people of Valparaiso want chickens,” said Weakly. “Valparaiso is changing. Today, just today, in the last half hour before I came here I met four families with children under the age of eight that moved into the area in the last two months, they want chickens.”

Valparaiso Mayor Brent Smith asked the commission board for a motion to discuss the ordinance change. No commissioner came forward making the agenda item fall from lack of a motion.

Weakly told the commissioners she is not done trying to get residential chicken the legal way. The petition sits at six local businesses in the small town with nearly 400 signatures.

“When times change, cities and towns should change with it,” said Weakly.

Others in attendance at the meeting praised the commission board for keeping the rules as they are.

“I’m a taxpayer here. Y’all are doing a good job, keep it up,” said Matthew Owen Williams. “Just like every other HOA in America, we got rules, we gotta keep ’em up.”

The next city commission meeting is set for Apr. 10, 2023. View the full discussion from the March 13 meeting online.