Harassed in Rochester NY

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by franksflock, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. franksflock

    franksflock Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 23, 2011
    After researching laws and ordinances in the city of Rochester, NY we started talking about getting chickens. Told most of the neighbors, who were super excited. Began building the coop two months prior to getting the chicks. The first complaint started on Day 2 of construction, with a neighbor that lives three houses away from mine, he stopped by and asked what we were doing. Told him about the chickens, he told us that wasn't legal in the city, I spoke with him about the laws and ordinances in our city. Went over the whole no rooster thing. He stopped by the next day to make sure I was joking about the coop, same conversation again.

    While in building stages we spoke to zoning enforcement (within zoning regulations) and with the cities neighborhood association representative (also agreed we were within ordinances). Applied for chicken permit 2 weeks prior to their arrival. The permit has been held up for 2 months now for various reasons (first I over-payed my fee by a dollar, next they wouldn't renew for the year (their year starts July 1 and I applied in late June) and they said they would process on July 1. Next they sent it back to be notarized and to fill in our "business name". They have cashed my check, however I still have no permit.

    I have received visits from animal control (also found no problems). I've also been visited by the fire department (no idea why). I've received warnings about inappropriate weeds/grass (when I spoke to the person issuing the citation they had no recollection of why I was cited, what my property looked like, or that I had two lots which were both cited).

    Today I received a notice from the chief of police stating my license cannot be approved as I have outstanding fines from the city. I have called every number listed on the letter and checked my property at the city website. I have a home alarm and two dog licenses that they now claim haven't been paid. (I have cancelled checks, and the permits). The officer who issued the citation was unavailable by phone today.

    I'm frustrated and feeling harassed by the city. I can't seem to get answers as to what rules I've violated from any city workers. Everyone who has come to evaluate the coop states it is in compliance with code. Any ideas? (See pictures of my coop on My Page)
  2. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    You go to the Chief of Police station. Take all your documentation. Be extra super nice and friendly. It is much easier to deal face to face than on the phone. Let them see that you are a real person trying to just get this taken care of.
  3. moetrout

    moetrout Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2010
    Milan, MI
    Keep written records of everything. Date, time, Who you talked to, what was discussed. Sounds like a load of crap. Could you file a complaint with the police department for harassment? I know it may sound silly since it's your own city doing it, but it might raise a few eye brows and get you some answers. Keep us informed.
  4. Mamma_Duck04

    Mamma_Duck04 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2011
    Crazyville, VA
    Keep in mind it might not be the 'city' doing it either, rather a p'd off neighbor who keeps calling to get you in trouble & since you keep "skating by", he may just be calling anyone & everyone who has ANY control ANYWHERE to get you in trouble. I would be curious if you could find out who's filing complaints & see if they don't trace back to someone in your neighborhood. IMO that's what it sounds like.
    The city fees not paid could really just be a glitch in their systems honestly & just falling in line because you're trying to get this chicken permit. I know in my area, that's quite common unfortunately & requires the payer to keep records of things like check stubs, receipts, etc. just in case it comes back to bite you.

    I second the recommendation to go down to the police dept. & speak with them personally with your paid records.

    Good luck!
  5. franksflock

    franksflock Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 23, 2011
    I agree that this all likely stems from a neighbor (they won't tell who or even if it's the same one). I wish that the departments within the city could talk to one another or just tell my neighbor that my chickens are within city code.

    Luckily I've been documenting names and conversations pretty much from the get go. I'm planning on going to the police station when I get off work, with my now thick file of alarm/dog/building permits/taxes basically anything I've gotten from the city in the four years I've lived here. I guess if they aren't helpful I can file a harassment complaint with them at the same time.

    Thanks and I'll let you know how it goes.
  6. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
  7. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    While going and speaking to them in person is not a bad idea, you also need a paper trail to avoid a "he said, she said" scenario--especially with the police. Send a politely worded letter with copies of all the documents that show that you have paid all fees, and therefore do not have any fines. Make sure to name which departments have come out, on what dates and their statement that everything was in compliance. If you have the individual names, be sure to include them. Then send the letter to the police department, with copies to the city attorney, each city counsil person and the mayor. Make sure that it is obvious that copies are going to all those places. You need to include the request that the city acknowledge that you are in compliance with all codes, that you have paid all fees and owe no fines, and that your permit for chickens is granted immediately. Be polite, but firm.
  8. crj

    crj Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 17, 2009
    Rocky Point, NC
    You may want to find out who that neighbor is related to or very close too. Sounds like that neighbor isn't very nice and wants to create problems. I don't understand people like that. I hope you can get everything settled. Great job on the coop.
  9. b.hromada

    b.hromada Flock Mistress

    Quote:Yep, sounds like that to me too. As I've got one of those, right next door to me! [​IMG] [​IMG]
  10. Desert Rooster

    Desert Rooster El Gallo Del Desierto

    Sep 4, 2010
    Hesperia, Ca
    This guy lives three houses down, and is complaining about chickens? this guy needs to get a life and stop getting into other peoples business.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by