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Two Conflicting Livestock Laws. Which one stands?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Our town/village has two laws on the books regarding Livestock. We are a right to farm town.  The first law from 1996 states that we are a right to farm town "and that no person, entity, association, partnership or corporation shall engage in any act to prevent or deter such conduct as it is approved herein".

 

However, in the zoning laws from 2004, it states:

"1. The growing of field and garden crops, vineyards, orchards and nurseries; the keeping of livestock on a lot of ten (10) acres or more; and the keeping of fowl on a lot of five (5) acres or more shall be permitted as allowed by the Schedule of Use Regulations."

 

So far, we don't know if anyone has followed the zoning laws because people all over our town have chickens, some on 1/4 of an acre.  But we've heard of two instances where people have lost their birds because of disputes with neighbors or town officials happen to notice the birds wandering about.  Last year a town official drove by and saw our turkeys wandering around.  Fortunately, the next time they drove by was after Thanksgiving.  But we have 50 + birds on our property this spring and I'm more worried than ever we're going to get caught.

 

Is the law on our side?

RSL, Buffs, RIR, Amber Rocks and GLWs. Three turkeys getting ready for Thanksgiving.  One GLW Rooster crowing over them all.
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RSL, Buffs, RIR, Amber Rocks and GLWs. Three turkeys getting ready for Thanksgiving.  One GLW Rooster crowing over them all.
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post #2 of 8

Trust me in that officials will 'bend' legislations to do or try to do whatever they desire.  My gut says you may be in trouble if you have less than 5 acres, but hopefully a lawyer will chime in.

Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
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Friends are the family you make for yourself.
There are no coincidences- only providences.
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post #3 of 8

if there are certain things about the laws that you are not clear about, it's best to call the city and clarify.

 

There should be a "code compliance" department in your area and a phone number. They should also have the ordinances available online

 

This city will not allow any chicken up until 2014.  When i checked their ordinances website it still stated that raising chickens is illegal, i checked google and came across many articles that stated that a new law was out and it is legal as of 2014.

 

I was confused to i look up the phone number of the code compliance department. The rep told me the same thing that was in the news articles.  It is now legal to raise chickens for houses of my lot size .. but only up to 5 hens and no rooster.

 

so my advice for you would be call and and clarify since the 2004 might the the most updated law.

 

good luck

What i posted above are just my opinions.. they are NOT facts.
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What i posted above are just my opinions.. they are NOT facts.
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post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Before we started raising chickens we called our Town Hall and asked if chickens were allowed.  The city clerk said "We are a right to farm town and chickens are allowed".  She never mentioned zoning.  That was in 2011.  We found out about the zoning law when we heard about someone's birds being taken away in a nearby town.

 

We are on 2 acres and our block boarders 1000 acres of state protected land.  Our birds are contained now and the coop is and has always been out of sight..  Half our birds are broilers and won't be around after the end of June.  Our Turkeys however, well they do roam.  Our neighbors love them and feed them treats.  We are planning on penning them up this year.

 

We live in a very rural area.  Every house in our area has 2 acres.  The two corner houses on our block have over 10 acres each - just to give you an idea of how rural it is out here.

RSL, Buffs, RIR, Amber Rocks and GLWs. Three turkeys getting ready for Thanksgiving.  One GLW Rooster crowing over them all.
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RSL, Buffs, RIR, Amber Rocks and GLWs. Three turkeys getting ready for Thanksgiving.  One GLW Rooster crowing over them all.
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post #5 of 8

ACRE.  That's the word you don't see in my area.  We use sq ft :(

 

You have plenty of space to raise chickens.

 

There should be at least one person who will handle the citation/notice for the code compliance. You could ask for that person or have them direct you to the most current law on the list to clarify.

 

It might not necessary but it's best to document (emails)  or record the calls so you have to back up your side just in case they told you no even after you clarified it with multiple people and sources.

 

The person who got their birds taken away-- did you ask them about the situation? It might be best to ask them to understand what was the reason behind it.

 

For my area for example, I can keep chickens (up to 5) for my lot size and the HOA has no regulations against it so it's ok.  That's is not all though. Since there are other laws that will overlap

 

Noise ordinance

Smell ordinance

 

so if i don't keep up with the cleaning and the smell spread to the neighbors or the noise (no rooster- so don't' have to worry about this).

 

I heard of people who got their dog taken away because of the complaints from multiple neighbors.

What i posted above are just my opinions.. they are NOT facts.
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What i posted above are just my opinions.. they are NOT facts.
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post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

There were two people nearby who lost their birds.  The first person was actually in a nearby village, not in our township.  She lost her birds because they didn't have a coop and they kept crossing the street into a neighbor's yard.  She has less than a 1/4 acre.

 

The second lady lives in our village.  She lost her birds because she lives on less than 5 acres and she wanted to start a dog kennel.  When she applied for the license, the inspector came to her house and found the chickens.  She was ordered to remove them because of a violation of zoning.  She had 6 birds.

RSL, Buffs, RIR, Amber Rocks and GLWs. Three turkeys getting ready for Thanksgiving.  One GLW Rooster crowing over them all.
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RSL, Buffs, RIR, Amber Rocks and GLWs. Three turkeys getting ready for Thanksgiving.  One GLW Rooster crowing over them all.
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post #7 of 8

The law doesn't sound very clear. It says what is permitted but doesn't say what is not permitted. It doesn't say you can't have those items if you have less land than 5 acres, just that if you do you are able to.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmfarm View Post
 

The law doesn't sound very clear. It says what is permitted but doesn't say what is not permitted. It doesn't say you can't have those items if you have less land than 5 acres, just that if you do you are able to.

Yeh, and the first law states that as a right to farm nothing shall impose on that right.  We have neighbors all over our town with chickens, goats, etc. who don't have 5 acres.  We recently contacted our neighbor who owns 40 acres directly behind us (in between us the state protected land) and asked him if he is interested in selling the 10 - 20 acres directly behind us.  He said he was.  We are working on making this happen.


Edited by Lelilamom - 5/31/16 at 4:59am
RSL, Buffs, RIR, Amber Rocks and GLWs. Three turkeys getting ready for Thanksgiving.  One GLW Rooster crowing over them all.
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RSL, Buffs, RIR, Amber Rocks and GLWs. Three turkeys getting ready for Thanksgiving.  One GLW Rooster crowing over them all.
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