I've just joined Backyard Chickens, and am seeking advice on how to proceed on an order from South Brunswick Township to remove chickens and rooster from my property.
The enforcement officer told me I can either do an appeal/request for reinterpretation in front of the Zoning Board (will cost me $375, and according to enforcement officer, they will vote against me anyway) or they will send me to court, with fees of up to $2,000/day for disobedience, if I don't comply with order to remove chickens. There are probably other options in trying to change the policies or revoke the order - or ignore my case - that they didn't tell me about.
South Brunswick Township ordinances don't explicitly prohibit chickens. A number of people have them, but they only go after someone if there is a complaint. Their argument then is that since chickens are permitted in the ordinances under agricultural zoning, they're not allowed in residential (see ordinance below). However, there is no specific ordinance explicitly prohibiting chickens in the residential zone. The problem was the complaint - and of course my mistake in keeping a rooster for some months.
Most of my 7 chickens are beautiful heritage/endangered breeds, laying different-colored, gorgeous, delicious eggs. It will be a real shame to lose them, especially for my children.
I would greatly appreciate any advice on how to proceed.
All farm and agricultural activities, including nurseries, small animal, livestock and poultry raising. The feeding of swine or other livestock upon garbage or similar refuse material is specifically prohibited.
The sale of farm produce, poultry products or dairy products which have been raised on the farm from which they are to be sold.
Under Animals, General (enforcement official refused to even discuss the following section with me; they base their argument purely upon the above clause; logic is, if it's allowed in RR rural residential, it's not allowed in R2, the residential areas)
Sec. 14-2. - Noise.(I understand this to mean no roosters, or no chickens bothering neighbors.. ie it's a problem if it bothers neighbors)