Board of Trustees Meeting July 6th

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by chriscat, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. chriscat

    chriscat In the Brooder

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    As you may have read in the For Sale or Trade forum, someone in our small town of 530 turned me in for having chickens. I was wrong in assuming that because the bigger city just to the north of us, Decatur, IL allows chickens, that our small farm town would allow them too. I received a letter from a lawyer representing our town and was given ten days to get rid of my chickens or have a lawsuit filed against me. I talked to the village clerk who gave the the mayor's telephone number, but it took a couple of days for him to return my husband's call, and we'd found the chickens a new home by then.

    The mayor said he'd be glad to have us come to the next board of trustees meeting, and that we should bring a "plan". I'm assuming that means a picture of the coop we're planning to rebuild, maybe a layout of our backyard and where we'll keep the chickens, and maybe a petition signed by our neighbors? What would you all suggest? I want to give them as much information as I can. I'm an avid backyard gardener, and have multiple raised beds. I had bantam cochins and silkies, and while I was weeding, I'd let them into the box and they'd eat insects and scratch around. I'm really hoping I can present them with some information that will make them change their minds and change the ordinance. I welcome any suggestions.
     
  2. BigPeep

    BigPeep Songster

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    chriscat:

    I am a lawyer in Northern Illinois, former township and county planning commissioner, and recent chicken owner.

    I can't come down there to help you but if you can get me a copy of all of the ordinances that apply, I can take a look at them.

    It sounds like they want to deal, or that they don't really have an ordinance. If you get me the letter from the town attorney I may be able to respond to it and find out what their legal authority is.

    No charge. [​IMG]
     
  3. chriscat

    chriscat In the Brooder

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    Apr 14, 2008
    Central Illinois
    I asked the village clerk for the a copy of the ordinances, and she pulled out a loose leaf notebook a couple of inches thick, lol! She photocopied this for me:

    3-1-8 ANIMALS IN VILLAGE

    (A) Certain Prohibitions. Except as otherwise provided in this Chapter, no person shall keep within the village any cattle, cows, horses, sheep, swine, goats, chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese or other livestock.

    (B) Exceptions. This Section shall not apply to areas of the Village that are zoned agricultural, nor shall this Section apply to livestock brought into the Billage for the purpose of being shipped out the Village, nor shall this Section apply in those instances in which written permission has been granted by the Village Board of Trustees.

    (C) Health Hazard. The Mayor shall have the power to issue an order prohibiting the keeping of any animal, fowl or bird which is deemed to pose a health hazard to the general public.

    This is text of the letter I received from the attorney:
    RE: Village of Dalton City Ordinance Violation

    Please be advised that I am the attorney for the Village of Dalton City. I am writing to advise you that residents within the Village limits are prohibited from raising or keeping within the Village limits any live chicken. It has been brought to my attention that you are in violation of this matter. I am writing to advise you that you must remove any and all live chickens from within the Village limits. Please be advised that you have ten (10) days to remove the live chickens from the Village limits. If you do not remove these chickens from the Village of Dalton City, then you will force me to file a lawsuit to pursue this matter. In order to avoid unnecessary litigation, please address this matter immediately.

    I panicked and posted my birds on Craigslist, and was able to find them a great home that very same day. A nice local family with kids in 4-H bought them. I went in to talk to the Village Clerk and as soon as I walked in, I saw a copy of the attorney's letter on her desk. She had received a complaint about our chickens and then apparently contacted the attorney. A few days later, the mayor returned my husband's phone call. He was very courteous and willing to listen, and said he'd put our issue on the docket for the next meeting.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2009
  4. BigPeep

    BigPeep Songster

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    THis ordinance is a clear as you can get. You can't have chickens unless you have Ag zoning or you get permission.

    I would put together plans for a coop and also talk to all of your neighbors to get their permission. I would also try to see if anyone else in town is interested in keeping chickens. There is strength in numbers. I would have all of your "eggs" lined up ahead of time. If you can't do that right away and you don't currently have the chickens, I would delay a meeting until you have everything together rather than go in "half cocked".

    You should look at the website www.madcitychickens.com and see what they did in Madison. There is also a very humorous video called "Mad City Chickens" you can order online. You might want to show a bit of it to them to loosen them up.

    You are going to be dealing strictly in a policy realm as you are behind the eight ball in terms of the ordinance. Dalton City appears to be a very small town which is closely tied in with local agriculture and I'm sure had backyard chickens in many people's yards at one time. With what is happening with the economy and the global economic chickens coming home to roost, it may be time for a little "Back to the Future" in terms of developing self sustaining lifestyles. Chickens are an integral part of that.

    You can also get the Madison ordinance online from the City of Madison website. It basically says no roosters, limits the number of hens, provides minimum distances from lot lines and requires approval (or at least notification and lack of objection) from a majority of the neighbors.
     
  5. chriscat

    chriscat In the Brooder

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    Apr 14, 2008
    Central Illinois
    We had our meeting tonight and it went well. I brought in pictures of our coop and pics of the breeds we kept to soften them up.[​IMG] Silkies and Bantam cochins...who could help but love them? I also brought ordinances from as many cities across the U.S. that I could find that allow chickens. We talked about the layout of our backyard and how there are no houses behind us and the neighbors beside us didn't mind. They're going to talk about it, then have a vote and let us know. I think they had some "problem" chicken owners in the past, the way it sounded, so I have no idea which way it will go. I'm keeping my fingers crossed though!
     
  6. Schultz

    Schultz CluckN'Crow Farm

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    [​IMG] Good luck, I hope you get to have chickens!!
     
  7. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

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    How did the meeting go?
     

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