Just received a violation notice that states that I need to get rid of my tiny flock of chickens within 10 days. (Scroll to bottom to see ordinance). I have had them for over a year and a half now, going on 2 years, and we haven't had one complaint from the neighbors at all, they even seemed to support us having them. They never left our property and were not a nuisance.
I know we are in the wrong and should have researched the area and zoning laws better, but the only reason we have run afoul of the zoning is because my husband questioned someone we didn't know who was crossing our property to the lakefront. Turns out it was the neighbors across the street's son-in-law, which we didn't recognize because these people are only here on weekends in the summer. The neighbor's son became indignant that we dare question him on who he was and why he was on our property, and while we tried to be civil, we could hear him complaining about getting us back for bothering him on his vacation time. So, about a week later the all powerful Silver Creek Township Police came to check out our horrible crime of chicken keeping. We just received the notice yesterday. I have found a nice place to rehome them, they will be free ranging, which they did in our fenced yard, and we will be giving them up tonight.
We only got them because my daughter was in the feed store around Easter and begged her father for a few chicks. I was against the idea at the time, but hubby had already bought them. Then we fell in love with the chicks, the chickens, and the eggs. I am heartbroken. My daughter and husband are heartbroken. We are all sad.
I know some will say that we should have known better, and yes, we should have. I don't disagree with this. We are in violation of zoning ordinance, which although a mile down the road are farms and feed stores and considered agricultural district, our section is designated waterfront/lakefront and prohibits fowl/poultry. But if it weren't for the people who reported us, this wouldn't have happened. The incident wasn't even a big deal, we just politely asked who this strange person was that was crossing our property, and he became volatile and defensive that he had a right of easement to the lake. We didn't dispute that, we just asked who he was as it is not a public easement, but a very private one limited to just the house across the street and we didn't know he was a guest of the people across the street.
I am just venting because this was pretty upsetting to my family and me. Since the area is full of people who are just part-time vacation property owners, there is little, if any, chance to change the zoning for my area. Most of them pay higher taxes as non-residents and the zoning board knows it. We have had this property for over 45 years and are year round residents. My grandfather used to have rabbits and chickens on this property when he was alive. He even had a meat goat at one time. But times change and I just have to suck it up. But I wanted to vent a little about it with people who love their chickens because I am so broken up over it. They were our pets, gave us joy, and had a nice life with us for a short period of time they were here. I wish we could keep them. We are some of the last year-round long term owners/residents of property in this area, the out of towners have changed so many ordinances and laws that it has became almost prohibitively expensive to even live here, but the house is paid off and we get homestead exemption for taxes, so we will stay for now. Maybe one day we will move or buy a farm a mile down the road, if the laws don't change by that time. Thank you for reading.
For anyone wanting to know the ordinance for Silver Creek Township, Cass County, Michigan, here it is:
Edited by LadyKjo - 7/14/15 at 9:03am