Chicken-keeping coming to a head in Rome, Ga

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by cllewis.1, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. cllewis.1

    cllewis.1 New Egg

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    I have had chickens within the city limits of Rome, GA for 3 years. After only positive comments from the few neighbors who knew about them, one neighbor reported me to the codes enforcement office. At present, city ordinance prohibits livestock in the city limits and this includes poultry. Because of being reported I have had to file an application for a Special Use Permit with the planning and zoning board. MY family has a hearing on Thursday afternoon of this week with planning and zoning, during which I have 10 minutes to present my case.

    My case is simply that my "special use" for the chickens is educational. With 3 young children, there are endless educational opportunities to be had, and I figure that is my best argument. I will also have a chance to provide a rebuttal for complaints anyone may have. We have a chicken tractor and never let the chickens out except when we are outside...and then we keep a close eye on them. The backyard isn't fenced but the neighbor's backyard is; nonetheless, the neighbor is concerned because sometimes the chickens do cross the property line into the small strip of her yard that isn't fenced. We have become more vigilant about chasing them back since the complaint was lodged; we had let our guard down because of the positive comments we had received from her in the past. The lot is 100'x150', by the way. We have 5 hens, no roos. We don't have odor problems nor vermin in the feed. These chickens are less noticeable than a medium sized dog would be.

    I'm developing a powerpoint in which I will show some of the educational uses of the chickens, and also I will list some of the cities in our fair state of Georgia (USA) where suburban chicken ordinances have been put in place. Any other advice is greatly appreciated here from those of you who've had to deal with this.

    Please note - this is a special use permit, specifically for my family and my property - it may spur a city-wide ordinance, but that's not what we're asking for at this time because that's not provided for now that we have been reported. The City Commission brought this forward some months ago and voted down a suburban chicken ordinance because only 2 folks showed up and spoke in opposition...it was basically looked at as a joke. I found out about the hearing just 2-3 hours before it happened and my schedule didn't allow me to attend. So we aren't specifically pleading for something city-wide.

    Also, if the BYC community members feel moved to send in letters of support, that would be appreciated as well. I don't want to overstep the boundaries of this website's TOS or anything...I haven't frequented the forums, rather I have just read on topics specifically relating to me over the last 3 years.

    Letters of support may be sent to cllewis.1 at gmail dot com - that's me. If you want to email the zoning board directly, please email phelton at romega dot us. Please copy me on anything you send. Thank you.
     
  2. kellysmall87

    kellysmall87 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think you are right to say everything that you have said, and specifically about the hens being purely for educational purposes and for the purpose of educating your children about sustainability as well as 'where our food comes from' and 'caring for animals'. I would state and refer in your PowerPoint that you chickens are in fact all HENS and also refer to them as HENS only, leaving out any doubt as to whether any are noisy cockerels.

    I would also take pictures of your hens, film them in their daily state for an hour or two maybe, showing that they are of no nuisance. Then, you have this to hand if they ask for proof that they are in fact not noisy. If your neighbours have dogs etc, film the dogs barking. Compare and contrast the two species in comparison regarding noise and nuisance.

    Where I think you would struggle is the fact that the boundaries are not fenced. This may be your only let down. Can you not construct a chicken wire pen/fence? This would surely help your case...

    Hope I have helped?

    Kelly.
     
  3. cllewis.1

    cllewis.1 New Egg

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    Oct 8, 2009
    Thank you Kelly, this is helpful. At different times there have been noisy dogs about the neighborhood but none right now.

    The chickens live in a 4'x8' chicken tractor which I move around the yard every few days. They are confined; we let them out to roam only when we are outside in the yard. The neighbor in question has a mostly fenced backyard, but there's a strip maybe 8' wide that is immediately adjacent to our property which isn't fenced. The chickens have occasionally crossed the line but I argue they have done no damage, and we have, since this became an issue, become very vigilant about keeping them on our side of the property line. We are working with a fencing contractor right now to get our backyard fenced, to provide even more physical barrier to ensure they stay off her property.

    Thank you for the feedback. I am not sure the situation will lend itself to offering up an hour or two of video...but it's a good thought, and we perhaps will record a brief video clip to show. Thank you.
     
  4. kellysmall87

    kellysmall87 Chillin' With My Peeps

    No problem, I was just seeing what I could think of in order to help. The day where we get told that we can't even raise chickens in our gardens is the day we need to do something! I haven't even checked my local ordinances, but I don't care. My chickens are going nowhere and my neighbours haven't complained (yet)! If they do, I will tell them a few home truths about their cats sh*tting on my lawn!! :)

    Good Luck! xx
     
  5. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    Its a shame that people have to do things like this - I can never understand the mentality of some people. Why did your neighbour not just come around and tell you to keep you chickens off their property? Then warn you they would take action if you did not.

    Now everyone is going to have to spend their time and money on debating about 5 chickens. What a crazy world!
     
  6. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    as a pet owner and a chicken keeper, I would say that it isn't your neighbor's responsibility to ask you to keep your chickens off of his property. Yes, coming to you would have been a courtesy but, then again, so would not letting your chickens trespass in his yard.
     
  7. OLDGOAT35960

    OLDGOAT35960 Out Of The Brooder

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    How has this turned out? I live just across the Alabama state line from Rome and I heard about this, last I heard they were letting you keep your chickens pending a court ruling or something?

    It is a shame, our founding fathers would cringe if they knew how laws are now.
     

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