A Longwood attorney says he has reached an agreement with DeBary officials to allow a 3-year-old autistic boy to keep his backyard chickens.
Mark Nation said Wednesday the city agreed to grant a special accommodation for J.J. Hart, whose family’s permit to keep three chickens is set to expire Dec. 31.
The DeBary City Council has scheduled a special meeting at 6 p.m. Dec. 18 to consider “granting a reasonable accommodation under the federal and Florida Fair Housing Acts.”
The council voted 3-2 last week to kill the program that allowed backyard chickens with permits. Since then, J.J.’s story has attracted worldwide attention, from NBC’s “Today” show to Fox News and the Daily Mail of London.
“I approached the city and informed them laws would be violated in the event of the removal of his chickens,” Nation said.
By email, he shared a statement laying out his legal case. Under the law, he said J.J., who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, would qualify as a disabled person whose right to accommodation cannot be violated by city codes.
“The Federal Fair Housing Act ... prohibits the City of DeBary from ... a refusal to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford such person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling,” the analysis reads.