Help, please for Benton County, MO

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by machix, Sep 11, 2010.

  1. machix

    machix New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Jun 5, 2008
    MO
    We have had 8 hens for over 2 years, never had a rooster. Someone in our community recenlty got 2 roosters, and you could hear them frequently, leading to complaints to the association, who in turn, fired out letters to us and the roo owners, telling us they had to go!!!! The president of the association has been to our house WHILE OUR CHICKENS were outside their coop, and didn't say a word, this as long as 2 years ago, now they want us to give up our "girls" that we are so emotionally attached to.....is there anything we can do??????
     
  2. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    20,149
    291
    401
    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    First, read your CC&Rs and see whether it disallows chickens. Also look for any provisions that allow the board to make rules about property uses. Next, does the HOA typically enfore provisions that are broken, or ignore them. If they typically enforce violations, but have not enforced against you for over two years of knowing you had chickens, they may well have lost the ability to enforce that provision (assuming that there is a provisions that disallows chickens). This would take a court of law to resolve, though.

    My guess is that there is not a provision forbidding chickens, and that the board overstepped its authority. One thing I have found on my years on my board is that very few association members, and that includes board members, know their documents well, and likewise have little knowledge of their actual responsibilities and limitations.
     
  3. mrsbos

    mrsbos Chillin' With My Peeps

    222
    0
    99
    Aug 11, 2010
    Greenacres, WA
    I am on the board of my HOA in an upscale suburban neighborhood. The first thing I did before getting hens was to read the fine print in our CC & Rs (Covenants/Codes & Restrictions). Ours says:

    "No animals other than dogs, cats, CAGED BIRDs, tanked fish, and other conventional small household pets may be kept on lots"

    I personally will interpret caged birds to mean my chickens would not be in violation since their chicken run is a large cage. It did not specifically say "INDOOR caged birds". If people wanted to be really picky about the "tanked fish" part, people who had water features with koi (those large goldfish) in their backyards would also be in violation, but who's going to complain about a backyard fish?!

    So lucky for me....I think I'm in the clear with the HOA, if only my chickens didn't violate county zoning laws! Shhhhh

    Anyway, back to your issue, as someone on an HOA board who has to deal with CC & R violations, I can tell you that our enforcement powers are pretty darn weak. We can send all the letters we want to violators, and fine homeowners all we want, but without official legal action, we can't really make anyone comply or pay. We are extremely hesitant to go so far as to hire a lawyer to bring legal action against someone, because even though the homeowner (if they lost) would have to reimburse the HOA for all legal costs, it would cost the HOA a lot of money and effort upfront to initiate the whole affair----which none of us wants to do!

    I guess what I'm saying, is that if your hens do not garner any noise/odor complaints, and if the only reason you were sent the letter is because someone else's roos were making a racket.....do nothing. Maybe you'll get lucky, and the roo owner will get rid of their roos, no one else will complain, and the issue will go away.

    Best of luck in the whole situation! I'm a first time chick owner of 4 week old Ameraucanas, and I know how totally attached a person can get to their "pet" chickens!

    -Michelle
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by