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Needing some help in Shelby County KY

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I have recently been informed that I have been turned in for a zoning violation by I assume a neighbor here in Shelby county.  I am outside the city limits  but still inside of a neighborhood. 


I read through the county ordinances and zoning regulations and didn’t see anything that said I was not allowed to raise chickens.  However after a visit to the local Zoning office I was informed that living in a medium density residential (R-3) area I am not allowed to use my land for any agricultural use.  Not even allow to grow a garden (Which I have for the last 4 summers of living in the house)…  I even read through these regulations and assumed they were written like laws, that it only listed things you were no allowed to do, and if you did you had to follow certain guide lines.


Does anyone know of any ways around these local ordinances?  I have read through Kentucky’s Right To Farm Status and not sure if that would be any assistance.  I am not wanting to just roll over and allow my local government tell me what I am and not allowed to do with my own property.  My hand full of chickens are not causing any nuisances, I just have a chicken hater on my hands.


I am already working on a Email to my District Magistrate that will be followed up with a phone call.  Just hoping anyone out there may be able to help.  Even if it was just support at any upcoming zoning meetings.



post #2 of 9

First thing to do is to get a copy of these ordinances or zoning laws to see what they actually say. Someone's interpretation of the laws is meaningless, if contrary to what is written.


I learned that the hard way on a building permit for my shop.  The clerk told me that I could not build it any closer to the side lot line than 20% of the width of the lot.  The actual wording says 20 feet.



post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

Here is the Zoning regulations pertaining to my property straight from their website.


Medium Density Residential District (R-3)

The Medium Density Residential District is intended to provide for medium

population density. Single-family dwelling units are the principal uses permitted

along with the associated uses referred to in Section 664 (R-1) as being necessary to

provide a balanced and attractive residential area. The purpose of this district is

the same as that of the R-1, Low Density Residential District except that two family,

detached, dwelling units are permitted.

1. Principal Permitted Uses

a. Detached single-family dwellings

b. Detached two-family dwellings

c. Multi-family up to twelve (12) units per acre

2. Conditionally Permitted Uses

a. Any use conditionally permitted in an R-1 residential district and

subject to the requirements thereof as provided in Section 664.

3. Accessory Uses

Accessory uses and buildings may be permitted as customarily incidental

to any of the principal and conditionally permitted uses listed above


It says the purpose of my district is the same as R-1, here is what is listed for R-1.


Very Low Density Residential District (R-1)

The low density residential classification is a restrictive residential district. The

principal land use in this district is for single-family dwellings and for associated

religious, recreational, educational and public facilities necessary to provide for a

balanced and attractive low density residential area. Lands in this district are

intended to be protected from encroachment of uses detrimental to and not

performing a function appropriate to the residential environment.

1. Principal Permitted Uses

a. Detached single-family dwellings on sewer line.

2. Conditionally Permitted Uses

The following uses are special exceptions and require written approval of

the Board of Zoning Adjustment. The Board may attach certain conditions

to its approval which it feels are necessary to preserve and protect the

character of the district in which the proposed use would locate.

a. Churches, parish houses and other places of worship

b. Public libraries and public schools

c. Public parks, noncommercial private recreational areas and other

public facilities of a noncommercial nature

d. Funeral homes and cemeteries

e. Hospitals and clinics for human care, nursing and convalescent


f. Philanthropic institutions and clubs, except a club which is

customarily carried on as a business

g. Noncommercial kennel on the premises of a residence occupied by

the owner or tenant as a dwelling.

h. Bed and breakfast occupied by the owner or manager serving only

breakfast to guests only.

3. Accessory Uses

Accessory uses and buildings may be permitted only as customarily

incidental to any of the permitted and conditionally permitted uses listed



In neither section does it mention that any type of agricultural use is forbidden so I understood it as I was good to go.  It doesn't come out and say I am allowed, however it also doesn't say I am allowed any type of pets.  Does that mean I am not allowed a dog, or maybe a pet parakeet?  Only difference is my pet chickens are kept in an outbuilding, not in the house.

Edited by CurtisCr79 - 5/17/13 at 5:59am
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Got an update.  I had my wife stop by our local Ag. extension office to talk to them and see if they would be willing to join us in getting the zoning regulations changed.  She spoke to a nice man by the name of Walt Reichert, he is charge of the Fur and Feathers 4H group that Shelby county has.  From what he was saying planning and zoning has no authority over what type of animals we can keep, and he is going to personally contact them and get this straightened out.  Man I hope he can help and will be very grateful if this is all resolved soon.  I don't want to get rid of my hens and really don't want to get any fines.

post #5 of 9

I wanted to see if you had any luck in getting clarification on the ordinance. I have just move to Simpsonville and my neighbor was telling me that he has 4 chickens. I thought this was wonderful and was planning on getting a few of my own. In Louisville the ordinance is anyone residing on a 1/2 acre can own 3 hens and a rooster. Today my neighbor informed me he had purchased a rooster but a neighbor had reported him to the police and he was told he couldn't own any chickens at all. I find it hard to believe that in an urban city you can sustain your own chickens but in a rural farm based community there is no support. I would love to know what you have found out and would be willing to support you in changing the ordinance.

post #6 of 9
I'm also curious if there is an update to this. I'm with you JoyP, if I can hear roosters crowing in crescent hill why on earth couldn't someone in simpsonville of all places have a rooster? We have had a roo for over a year and no one has turned us in, we live just inside shelbyville city limits. I'm going to call the ag extension office today though, as I have an issue and need to file a police report. However, when I went to file the report the officer told me he didn't think I was allowed to raise farm animals at all. I had to go before the officer came out to take my statement as my son was needing to leave quickly, but before I go back I want to see what the law is.
post #7 of 9
Following this thread since my family and I have just moved to Shelbyville.
post #8 of 9

Wondering if there have been any updates...husband and the kids have decided we no longer want to live in Woodford county, and since he is changing jobs, we are free to move :)  Shelby county is on our potentially ok list - but only if we can have chickens.

post #9 of 9
I own chickens in the out scirts of town near tenaha no problem I live on acres down a
Dirt road no problem hope you find a good home
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