Carroll County Maryland Zoning Issues

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by [email protected], Sep 6, 2014.

  1. R@ndy

    [email protected] Songster

    Mar 20, 2009
    I live in Carroll County MD on just under 1/2 acre in an AG zoned area, not in a city, not in a sub division, BUT in rural farm country of Carroll County Maryland. Our property is Zoned AG and the Zoning law states that I can poultry on my property with no restrictions on the amount and I have registered my flock. I also have filed for my license to sell chickens and eggs in Maryland. I also been talking with Maryland AG to come to inspect and NPIP certify my flock which is part of the permit process to sell chickens and eggs…
    A complaint was made to the county about my chickens and Turkeys. Carroll County sent us a letter stating we had too many chickens on our property and we had to call them within 10 days so I did. They asked me how many chickens/Turkey I had on my property. I told them around 40. I also told them that I am getting rid of 7 roosters and 14 hens and my normal sized flock is around 20 to 30 pending on if I was growing some out to see what they look like or replacing layers. Well you would think I had shot the Pope by their reaction!! They said OMG your property is way too small for that many Chickens!!! And I had to reduce my flock to 6 total ASAP and how soon could I do it. I said hold on a minute what are you talking about??? I’m zoned AG right?? The Zoning inspector said yes I said ok what does the zoning LAW state?? The inspector said all it said was in an AG zoned area you can have poultry on my size property and with no number restrictions I said ok what’s the problem?? The inspector said well because the County Zoning Administrator made what they call a ""declaratory ruling"" Anybody on 1 acre or less could not have more than 6 chickens so because I live on little under 1/2 acre Carroll County Zoning Administrator has decided I can have only 6 animals total on my property even though I am zoned AG!!!

    I explained to the inspector that my flock I have been working on is 18 to 23 birds and in the spring and summer I like to raise some meat chickens and turkeys to eat so at that time I could have more on the property. I explained that the layers give me enough eggs for my family to eat and I can sell some to cover feed costs for all of the chickens.. I also use the Chicken poo to fertilize my raised bed gardens to grow my produce.. Carroll County zoning said it didn't matter if I wanted to raise my own food or not, if I farmed or use my sized property for AG and if I sold eggs or chickens I would be breaking the law.
    Here is the definition for a DECLARATORY RULLING. An opinion by the Zoning Administrator as to a matter of general interpretation of a provision in this chapter. A DECLARATORY RULLING is intended to give guidance to facilitate uniform interpretation of an ambiguous provision in this chapter and is not to be construed as binding in any fact-specific case
    MY Yard is very CLEAN and does NOT SMELL, I take very good care of my poultry so no issues there and they plenty of room, I average 60sqft per bird!!! Who gives them the right to tell me I cannot grow/raise good natural food for my family. What?? So they can force me to go to the store and buy food when I can produce it myself???
    I told the inspector that I am not willing to reduce my flock to 6 birds but I was willing to reduce to 24 birds and I was going to sell chickens, eggs and produce grown and raised on my property. I also let her know that I had registered my Birds with the state of Maryland and also filed the paperwork to sell eggs and chickens. I also told her by what the Zoning law stated I was in compliance with the law and the DECLARATORY RULLING was not LAW. She said they would make a ruling and then site me for non compliance and then I had 30 days to appeal the board’s ruling and plead my case to the Zoning Board but if I lost the appeal they could come right out and seize my poultry..I told her yea right like I would get a fair chance with you the Zoning board. I also let the inspector know that this issue needed to go to District Court for and ruling on what the law actually states and what I law actually need to comply with… SO we will see what happens

    Has anybody else in Maryland had any issues like this??
  2. buckbye

    buckbye Songster

    Aug 14, 2012
    So sorry to hear that. Ah, the Maryland state love affair with regulation, bureaucracy and red tape. One of many reasons I don't live there anymore.
  3. SunkenRoadFarms

    SunkenRoadFarms Chirping

    Sep 11, 2014
    Try contacting the Carroll County UMD farm extension. They did have something published in meeting notes from 2011 regarding a declaratory ruling regarding domestic animals as pets (google search it). However, it relates to property that could not be conceivably used for ah purposes. Obviously lots of interpretation involved regarding property use and whether the flock are pets.
  4. R@ndy

    [email protected] Songster

    Mar 20, 2009
    Yes that is the problem, they Carroll County Zoning Office think they can interoperate as they want.

    Carroll County Zoning Officer Robin Zile told me that I could NOT farm or use my property for AG use due to the fact I have just under 1 acre.. Even though I am zoned 100% Ag use.. She said the AG zoning did not apply to me because I am a residence not a farm...

    If you look up the zoning law for how I am zoned and where it states you can have poultry. So like myself in 2008 when I got chickens I read the zoning and good to go right ??? LOL< LOL well no way The Declaratory Ruling 1-2010 put in place in 2010 stated only 6 chickens for 1 acre or less period... After they contacted me about being non compliant with just 6 chickens I asked Robin ZIle where is this Declaratory ruling is posted so I could read it.. She stated it is NOT publically available and she would have to send it to me.. I said will how on the world could I have known??? She said I should have called and asked, again I said how in the world could I have known, she said does not matter The ruling is 6 chickens for the land I have period and when are you going to reduce your flock down to 6 and by the way every day you do not comply it is $50.00 per day.... only thing is keeping me from being fined the 50 bucks a day is me filing the appeal which puts it on hold.. She also said if I loose the appeal they could come right out and seize my birds!! I have all of the email to prove everything, What BS

    SO anybody in Carroll County Maryland Do NOT take the LAW for how you read it, Call the Zoning board regardless or you will get BURNED later.. They didnt care if the ruling was made public or not or when it was made and how long I have had poultry

    The State AG dint care how many I had when I spoke to them, they just wanted to have them NPIP certified which is fine by me.. Only problem if you register your birds with the State them the County can access those records and then they will know how many birds you have and come after you...

    This whole mess is totally crazy and Carroll County Zoning don't seem willing to reason to meet in the middle on anything...

    I am fighting this and tomorrow I am filing the appeal the county zoning board and pending on the outcome I will file a motion for this to be herd in district court to decide if I am in violation of any laws
  5. R@ndy

    [email protected] Songster

    Mar 20, 2009
    Im sure glad I don't live in Russia for god sakes!!
  6. R@ndy

    [email protected] Songster

    Mar 20, 2009
    Thanks :) I will give it a try. anything will help at tis point.

    Sure am starting to regret living in Carroll County MD!!!
  7. Justicedog

    Justicedog In the Brooder

    May 2, 2012
    Was there any resolution to this?

    Before I got chickens 3 years ago I'd called zoning as I couldn't find anything in the county code other than housing for poultry/livestock (forgot the wording) cannot be within 150 feet of property line. (I'm in residential). I've got nearly 1/2 acre - large yard, but the width of my property is only about 150 feet. I thought that was absurd so I called zoning and was told the 6 chicken rule, with a caveat of if neighbor complain about a rooster's noise, it's got to go.

    I'm now looking to add to my flock as the girls egg production has slowed down. I did have one die, so have 5 remaining.

    The feed store only sells chicks if you buy 5 or more. The feed store guy said there was no limit in Carroll County. I'd been planning on getting 5 more anyway, but had felt better about not breaking the law after talking to the feed store guy. I only imagine there will be a problem if someone complains. I give my neighbor's eggs and they've said they don't mind.

    So if "the county" comes and takes the chickens, do they charge you for taking them? How does that work?
  8. Fowlowyourheart

    Fowlowyourheart Hatching

    Mar 14, 2015
    I called the zoning office yesterday to make sure I'm allowed to have chickens. I don't live in what I would call a neighborhood, but I am zoned residential and have about 2.3 acres. The person I talked to said that, for a property on under 3 acres, the limit was 6 chickens. So, I wonder if the property size limit has changed recently. I was surprised that someone with over 2 acres can only have 6 chickens. My neighbors' houses aren't at all close to mine.
  9. Lahutch

    Lahutch Hatching

    Jul 30, 2015

    I'm a little late to this thread, but whatever happened with the Zoning board? We live in Carroll County right now on 1.54 acres and were told that we could have only two goats and less than 12 chickens. But we want to get two more goats and contacted the UMD farm extension to see what they say.

    Hope it worked out for you!
  10. rbruno

    rbruno Chirping

    May 6, 2015
    I too would like to add or get feedback on this thread. I am like everyone else. I am Carroll County, have 5 acres and want to get a couple chickens. In fact, they are already ordered and the coop is almost finished. I too read the zoning laws, but now am worried that there are several unwritten laws and people seem to be getting different information. I already had a neighbor take me to zoning court over my horse barn. When I called Zoning on his complaint, I got the same answer as someone else. I should have called and checked, but I had submitted plans and got an approval, but missed some technicality that the county didn't pick up on till my neighbor complained. I am only getting 4 chickens at this point. Just want to get a few to start, but also do not feel like getting involved with the county again. I would be interested to see how others are making out.

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