50 foot law and Immanent domain...

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by ScotH, Sep 4, 2010.

  1. ScotH

    ScotH Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 20, 2010
    South East Texas
    These are questions I have to ask, just in case I need to make my coop stationary:

    1. The poltry law in my city states 50 feet from any human dwelling, but the woman who runs my local feed store said it's 50 feet from the door\\entry way into the dwelling.... any of you live with this law and know the exact meaning? [​IMG]

    2. If I put the coop out by the fence behind my house (where we have shade trees) and something goes wrong with the gas line, power, sewer those companies could come in, declare immanent domain and possibly tear it down without notice or reimbursement.... OK, That's not so much of a question, just a rant. [​IMG]
     
  2. theFox

    theFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    Quote:That 50' foot deal is from the closest point to each human dwelling unit, not a door/entry way.

    as for 2 above not in this state, maybe in your state utilities have that power, here only governmental units have that power and even then notice and reimbursement is required.
     
  3. ScotH

    ScotH Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 20, 2010
    South East Texas
    Thanks

    1. That's not very good for a stationary coop then, it rules out about 3\\4 of our lawn, it's doable but I guess I'll keep my chicken tractor plans going.

    2. My dad was an engineer at the gas co. for many of his years, I remember his warning about them being able to come in and rip up fences, sheds (anything build above the line), but that would be in an emergency repair\
    eplace situation (very rare). The 50 Law would make that whole area off limits for a coop anyway.
     
  4. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with what theFox said about the 50 foot rule, it's 50 feet from any edge of a dwelling. As for #2, in our city, I don't think they can tear down your fences, structures, etc (except in an emergency), but they will demand that you remove or modify them or you may get charged an expensive fine. If you've had your coop there for several years, that might be a problem as it might be expensive and time consuming to remove it. And, on top of that, they may ask you to make other improvements that might be needed when they tell you to remove the coup.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2010
  5. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:You're confusing issues here. Eminent Domain is a legal doctrine whereby government can take title to private property after giving reasonably compensation to the owner if the government entity can show that it will benefit the public as a whole by doing so. For example, your local government could force you to sell your property to them to put in a road, sewage treatment plant, etc. A recent Supreme Court ruling (which is very controversial) extended this to allow governments to take property by eminent domain for the use and benefit of private entities if the use is still considered to be in the public interest/generate a benefit to the public, such as condemning property in a neighborhood so that a developer can put up a project that will, at least in theory, increase the value of the property and provide jobs in the area.

    With your situation, you are thinking of an easement. An easement is where you retain title to the land (you still own it), but you give someone else permission to use it for a specific purpose. A utility easement, for example, is when a utility company has a right to enter onto your land for the purpose of installing or maintaining a utility like power lines or sewers. It is pretty common for utility easements to be written into deeds or executed and recorded later. And yes, they often do give the utility the right to remove obstacles to their access. You need to look at your deed and the specific wording.

    However, utilities aren't as a rule going to come in and just destroy something without notifying you first and giving you some time to remove the obstacle yourself. I suppose it has happened, but as a rule, it would be bad business and public relations to behave that way. But, if you do put something up that is an obstacle, they generally will have the easement written so that they can remove it without having to compensate you. You or a past owner of your property agreed to this easement, so you have to live with it. Look at your deed and other land records to see what kind of utility easements were granted and what their terms were.

    Finally, aside from an easement, there may also be a public right of way along your property line. This is generally along a roadway, but could be along an alleyway perhaps. A public right of way is a strip of land at the edge of your property that is owned by the public/government, but generally maintained by the homeowner. The strip between a public sidewalk and the road in many cities is the public right of way. Utility lines are sometimes located here. As with an easement, you can't put anything on the public right of way that is an obstacle, at least not without permission.

    My question to you is this -- is you think this is a possibility some day, couldn't you just design you chicken coop to be easily moved -- a lot of people use mobile "chicken tractor" coops on wheels anyway so they can move the coop around the yard and give the birds access to fresh green grass and soil every few days? Or, at least make it modular so that it is easy and quick to take apart and remove for a few days if necessary?
     
  6. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Tempe, Arizona
    Quote:You're confusing issues here. Eminent Domain is a legal doctrine whereby government can take title to private property after giving reasonably compensation to the owner if the government entity can show that it will benefit the public as a whole by doing so. For example, your local government could force you to sell your property to them to put in a road, sewage treatment plant, etc. A recent Supreme Court ruling (which is very controversial) extended this to allow governments to take property by eminent domain for the use and benefit of private entities if the use is still considered to be in the public interest/generate a benefit to the public, such as condemning property in a neighborhood so that a developer can put up a project that will, at least in theory, increase the value of the property and provide jobs in the area.

    With your situation, you are thinking of an easement. An easement is where you retain title to the land (you still own it), but you give someone else permission to use it for a specific purpose. A utility easement, for example, is when a utility company has a right to enter onto your land for the purpose of installing or maintaining a utility like power lines or sewers. It is pretty common for utility easements to be written into deeds or executed and recorded later. And yes, they often do give the utility the right to remove obstacles to their access. You need to look at your deed and the specific wording.

    However, utilities aren't as a rule going to come in and just destroy something without notifying you first and giving you some time to remove the obstacle yourself. I suppose it has happened, but as a rule, it would be bad business and public relations to behave that way. But, if you do put something up that is an obstacle, they generally will have the easement written so that they can remove it without having to compensate you. You or a past owner of your property agreed to this easement, so you have to live with it. Look at your deed and other land records to see what kind of utility easements were granted and what their terms were.

    Finally, aside from an easement, there may also be a public right of way along your property line. This is generally along a roadway, but could be along an alleyway perhaps. A public right of way is a strip of land at the edge of your property that is owned by the public/government, but generally maintained by the homeowner. The strip between a public sidewalk and the road in many cities is the public right of way. Utility lines are sometimes located here. As with an easement, you can't put anything on the public right of way that is an obstacle, at least not without permission.

    My question to you is this -- is you think this is a possibility some day, couldn't you just design you chicken coop to be easily moved -- a lot of people use mobile "chicken tractor" coops on wheels anyway so they can move the coop around the yard and give the birds access to fresh green grass and soil every few days? Or, at least make it modular so that it is easy and quick to take apart and remove for a few days if necessary?

    Very well phrased explanations!
     
  7. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

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    Yes its an easement thing.......not very likely they would tear down a coop. Now planting trees under power lines, they will cut the top of the trees off. If they need to get a truck there ,fence may get removed.

    Only thing i would worry about would be planting trees there.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2010
  8. Rozzie

    Rozzie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2010
    If you are concerned that you may problems where your coop could be torn down by a utility company, then build it on wheels to make it easy to move. Use a trailer that you would tow behind a pickup truck as the base. Place it on supports (trailer jacks on small concrete pads, perhaps?) and remove the tires. Store the tires indoors or somewhere out of the weather so they don't rot and go flat. Then, you could move your coop very easily if you needed to do so. Do some advance planning so that any outdoor run you move could also be fairly easily relocated. It doesn't mean you wouldn't have to do some work to relocate it, but at least it would be doable without great financial loss.

    Look for a trailer for the base on Craigslist. You don't need a brand new one for this.
     
  9. ScotH

    ScotH Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 20, 2010
    South East Texas
    Thanks all for the replies, and Denninmi yes my mind came up with "eminent domain" instead of an "Easement"...
    My tractor design was starting to get bigger\\heavier than I thought would work, but with some good wheels on it now it seems manageable. The area I was thinking about placing it turns out to be really bad for a coop, other than having electricity and lots of shade it violates city code and the ground would have to be built up several inches.

    (You can check my page for building progress)
     
  10. rufus

    rufus Overrun With Chickens

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    Once you realized that no matter where you put the coop, you are in violation of some zoning law, you have a lot of leeway as a criminal. Go for it. Just realize that you may have to tear it down some day. That is just another cost of doing business.

    Rufus
     

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