Help with drafting a letter to the township?

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by willowandthyme, Feb 10, 2014.

  1. willowandthyme

    willowandthyme Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 10, 2014
    I've been in contact with the local planner about a pilot project I hope to get going here in which we can have a few backyard chickens. He seems in favor of it which is great! However he suggested I contact the ministry of agriculture *sigh*. I've done that and am awaiting a reply now but if they say ok I have to draw up a letter for the planner to present to the township for review. Has anyone done this and possibly have any tips? He gave me a list of questions that I should address in the letter.
    He said I should focus on how backyard chickens would contribute to the image the town is trying to achieve (it's a rural agricultural area by a lake so a little touristy and they heavily promote it as such). Anything else I should add in particular? One concern he had and I have no answer for is how to regulate smell. I suggested having periodic check ins, permits and limited flock size but is there really anything else we can do?
    Any suggestions would be appreciated
  2. ClovisMan

    ClovisMan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 29, 2014
    New Braunfels, TX
    So I take it this would be a no no...[​IMG]

    I do not think a couple of backyard chickens will generate much of a smell. Atleast no more than your average stray dog crapping in everyone's front yard. Now if you had 1000 chickens crammed on a 1/4 acre lot I can see that generating some stench.
  3. willowandthyme

    willowandthyme Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 10, 2014
    yes I'm pretty sure that wouldn't fly lol! I told him I've never smelled much with a small well cared for flock and he agrees. It's just so silly becauseI live about a 2 second walk from a horse farm and we're on 1.5 acres. I, of course do NOT have birds coming in a month and I'm NOT panicking lol. Once the gardens are in they'll never be seen but still
  4. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    You simply require that the coops and pens must be maintained in a nuisance-free manner. Thre are probably already ordinances that regulate nuisances...those should cover anything needed.
    1 person likes this.
  5. Outdoors4Life

    Outdoors4Life New Egg

    Feb 16, 2014
    Oak Park Heights, MN
    I recently drafted a letter to my city. I know the city planner and much of the counsel so it was very easy for me. If there is a way for you to draft a letter then go talk to the people who will be reviewing is it would make a large difference.

    My letter consisted of
    -who I am
    -where I live
    -what I wanted to do
    -how many chickens I want to keep
    -why I feel I should be able to
    -examples of other areas close to us
    -websites and blogs such as this one
    -offering more information and examples if they would like
    -thanking them for the consideration

    I have heard that at a workshop they had there was no opposition form any of the city counsel members and that it would likely pass in late March.
    1 person likes this.
  6. lizanne

    lizanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2012
    Citrus Heights, Ca
    I just did this and spoke at my City Council meeting on Thursday. Here is a copy of my letter to them, it might give you some ideas.

    February 12, 2014​
    To whom it may concern,
    My name is Elizabeth S. I am a wife, a mother, a Federal Employee, a Citrus Heights native, a homeowner, a gardener, and a chicken owner. I grew up in Citrus Heights and my parents bought their first home here in 1988. I moved back in 2010, when my husband and I bought our first home in the Chase neighborhood. We love it here, but in 2011 my husband lost his job, and since then has had a hard time finding full time employment. Self sufficiency has always been important to us, but especially now. Money is really tight, and gardening and chicken keeping really help stretch out our budget. I grow a huge garden every year. I grow enough to be able to share with my neighbors, and can the extra’s to use later in the year.
    Shortly after we bought our house, we decided we would like to keep a few chickens, and have fresh eggs. This wasn’t something we took on lightly. We have a large back yard, but it is a little under the 10,000 square feet required to keep livestock under 75 pounds. We researched chicken keeping, and spoke with our neighbors, to see if they had any issue with our chicken keeping. None of them did, and we asked them to let us know if it became a problem for them. We love our chickens. I am able to feed them kitchen scraps and left over veggies from my garden to help keep down feed costs. When money is really tight I can bake bread for less than $.50 a loaf, and have scrambled eggs and toast for dinner, or during summer, omelets with veggies from the garden.
    I received a Code Violation Notice on February 3rd, saying that I was in violation of the City animal code, and I could not keep chickens. I was given a week to correct the violation. I spoke with Officer Buck, and let her know that I needed an extension, that I would be filing an appeal, and attempt to change the city code.
    Section 8-47 of the Citrus Heights city code currently reads:
    ii. Small animal keeping. The minimum site area for the noncommercial, not-for-profit, keeping of small animals, of at least six months of age with a weight of less than 75 pounds at maturity, other than pets, as an incidental use, shall be 10,000 square feet; except that roosters shall be allowed only on a site of 20,000 square feet or larger, or within an RD-1 or RD-2 zoning district.
    In the code chicken keeping is put in the same area as animals up to 75 pounds. The average chicken weighs about 6 pounds. I’m sure anyone can see there is a huge difference between keeping 10 small goats, or pigs, (about 750 pounds of animals) and keeping a coop with 10 chickens (about 60 pounds of animals). While my yard is a little short (only by a couple hundred square feet) my neighbors on both sides have yards large enough to keep livestock under 75 pounds.
    The images below are of my property lines. The area outlined in red is the area I keep my chickens in. There is a fence in front (towards the street), a fence separating my neighbors property from my own, and a fence in back between my “chicken yard”, and the rest of the backyard. The coop is in the very middle. The space for my chickens is about 975 square feet. With the fencing no one can see them, and they stay contained in that area.

    ***(the pictures didn't past with this one, but I have google pictures of my property lines)***

    I would propose a change in the City Code, to enable people to keep chickens in smaller yards. 10,000 square feet is a huge area for 10 chickens. Even 5,000 would be plenty of space for them.
    From Backyard Poultry magazine (Article By Byron Parker,Randall Burkey Company,Texas) :
    Because chickens spend most of their active time outside of the chicken coop, generally 2 – 3 square feet per chicken is sufficient space. Remember, you will need to provide space to roost at night and space for the nesting boxes. If you plan on keeping them cooped up full-time then 8 – 10 square feet per chicken would do, counting the outside run. In this case, more is always better. If you are planning on buying or building a mobile chicken coop, space requirement is minimized because it offers you the ability to frequently move the coop and chickens onto fresh ground.
    The City of Roseville allows up to 10 chickens, ducks, or pigeons, regardless of lot size.
    Section 7.36.010 Domestic fowl--Restrictions.
    Except upon premises zoned for agricultural purposes pursuant to the zoning ordinance, no person shall keep any goose or turkey, or more than ten, whether singly or in combination, of the following: ducks, chickens, or pigeons. (Ord. 1293 § 1 (part), 1975: prior code § 3.90.)
    The city of Davis allows up to 6 Chickens regardless of lot size.
    5.01.020 Keeping of chickens, pigeons or rabbits.
    It is unlawful for any person to keep or maintain within the city, or permit to be kept or maintained upon land belonging to such person, any chickens, pigeons or rabbits except as follows:A total of not more than six chicken hens or six pigeons or a combination of chicken hens and pigeons not to exceed the number of six, or a total of not more than six rabbits may be kept and maintained in a clean and sanitary pen or structure, no part of which shall be located less than forty feet from any residence, other than a residence owned and occupied by the person owning or in possession of such animals; and, provided further, that the keeping of such animals shall not create a health or nuisance problem. (Code § 8-2.102)

    As a city that was founded on self sufficiency, you would think that we would encourage this in our community. I know of many people currently keeping chickens “illegally”, who would love to see this code changed. You don’t have many people coming forward, because of the fear that if they speak up they will be forced to get rid of their flocks. You may not see the importance of changing the code, but many of your constituents feel it is very important. I am asking you to change the City Code, and allow people like me to own chickens without the fear of violating the law. Encourage and give people the tools to be able to take care of themselves and their families as they see fit.

    Thank you for your consideration,
    Elizabeth S
    1 person likes this.
  7. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

    Jan 17, 2013
    What was the response to your letter? I wish you the best of luck.many towns are just not willing to change their laws.I'm wondering how this turned out for you? And your right many are afraid to come forward in fear they will be persacuted and loose their flocks! Did a neighbor turn you in? What is your situation now.just wondering if it made a difference? Your brave to try and fight. I do hope you win!
  8. lizanne

    lizanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2012
    Citrus Heights, Ca
    Is your question for me? If so I decided to start a thread about it, so people might be able to see if some of the things I've done might work for them. I'll update it as I get more info. Right now it is just the waiting game. ---And I don't want to thread-jack Willow's thread.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  9. willowandthyme

    willowandthyme Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 10, 2014
    That is a HUGE help! Thank you so much! Our town prides itself on being sustainable, rural and agricultural so here's hoping. With those stupid windmills going up in the near future I was hoping this would make our town a little more attractive.
    Definitely be following your thread!
  10. cstronks

    cstronks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 12, 2013
    New Jersey
    Those windmills will cut your electric bill in half!! They aren't a bad thing lol! The letter that Elizabeth posted is excellent. I would stress also that you are not just keeping the birds for sustainability reasons, but as pets. Smell will be a non-factor. I have 2/3 an acre in suburban NJ and never has there been one complaint or issue. My neighbors have probably forgotten that there are 10 chickens in my backyard!

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