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HOA evicting chickens-Need help with creating Petition LTR!

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by McCarla, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. McCarla

    McCarla New Egg

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    Jan 20, 2014
    Hello,

    First I will disclose that I'm a first time Forum guest and bit passionate and apologize for any poor posting etiquette....:)
    Here is my question:Does anyone have a letter that I can use or work from that we go door to door requesting votes to allowing chickens in our community?
    Here is my story: We just received notification from our town in AZ to remove our hens that we have had for over 7 yrs. :( I approached our HOA Director before contacting the property management company because we have a rapport with him. He was very generous with sharing how we received the letter and here is what he had to say. A neighbor with good intentions had asked the Board if we could change the rules to allow back yard chickens and this sparked the letters being sent out to 5 neighbors in our community that are also housing underground chickens. He told me the name of the neighbor that started it and we have a good relationship with them and he recommended I get in touch with them to see about making some changes. He also said 2 Board members want to allow chickens and the other 3 along with the majority of neighbors that had attended this meeting were openly against it. He said making the change was not going to be easy as we would need about 65 votes from the 140 homes, but he would provide a plot map of the houses to help us. The good new is, this is equestrian property that also allows goats. :)
    I have never done anything like this and I want to do this right for the sake of my chickens and the 5 other families that just received the bad news. I have been researching wonderful facts, but I'm not a writer and do not want to come off as the crazy chicken lady and need help to give our neighbors a glimpse of the greatness that chickens can bring to our community. Thank you for taking the time to read and help.

    Respectfully,

    Carla
     
  2. abserbean

    abserbean Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't have a format for you to use, but I have a possible resource. Jacksonville recently, successfully, petitioned and changed the city ordinances in Jacksonville, FL to allow backyard hens. www.hensinjax.com, and the Hens in Jax facebook page has many resources, including the link to the information used to persuade our council members. Good luck!
     
  3. McCarla

    McCarla New Egg

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    Wonderful, Thanks so much for the help, particularly the info on persuasion. I'm truly amazed by the quick response, I'm on it! :)
     
  4. chicksinthedale

    chicksinthedale New Egg

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    Mine is a little longer... but then again I live in Springdale AR -the home of Tyson Foods- so I expect that I will have more of a fight than most people. Use any part of this you want, and good luck in your fight!

    I can't post the URL because I am new but it can be found at chickendale dot blogspot dot com... there is a tab at the very top that will take you to the petition.
     
  5. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Tempe, Arizona
    Is this a rule or a covenant (part of the CC&Rs)? What you need to make the change will differ depending on which it is.

    In either case, you need to accomplish two things, petition for a vote to make the change and convince a sufficiently large portion of your neighborhood that having chickens fits in with other farm animals. For what it might be worth, the five goats on a property behind mine are much louder than are my many roosters. Not complaining--I think it humorous!

    If you wanted to go the legal battle route, if your and other birds have been obviously present for years (and if not, how did they get your names to send you letters?) without enforcement of the "no chickens" rule/covenant, the ability to enforce it now might have been lost. If a covenant is not enforced it becomes unenforceable. Now if your and all the other chickens present in the neighborhood were not known about by the board, and they just became aware of their presence, then that would not apply. But from your post, it seems likely that they were known about, but nothing was done to make you get rid of them or even put you on notice that you needed to.
     
  6. McCarla

    McCarla New Egg

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    Hello,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to give me your advice, I greatly appreciate it. I looked up our CC&Rs and chickens are specifically listed as one of the animals not allowed. :( Our HOA Director said "they" have known about our chickens but turned a blind eye because nobody complained and it wasn't a problem. :) Because someone did the right thing and asked if we could have chickens in the community and I'm sure the neighbor tried to validate his point by telling them there are already chickens in the community and that's what prompted them to have to act on it. I talked to the Director again and I am drafting a petition letter that I will need 30 votes and then take it to the Board and then they will invite homeowners to an informational meeting on it and then send out voting ballets that I would then need 71 votes as we have 110 homes. So, me and the neighbor that asked to have chickens are going door to door to get our first 30 votes and go from there. We will have a busy weekend that's for sure. I don't think our biggest problem is convincing people to include chickens, its getting that many people to vote. You know how it is, if they don't have an interest, the ballet will go in the garbage. So we will have to go door to door again to get those that we show haven't voted...

    I will look into the possibility of our chickens being unenforceable, as I had not thought of the "grand fathered" rule and we may apply. Thanks again for all your tips.:)
     
  7. McCarla

    McCarla New Egg

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    Update,

    My son and I went out to our community and out of 34 residents that answered their door, we received 32 yes votes to allow a small number of back yard hens! This was enough signatures to present to the Board this Thursday the 18th at our HOA meeting. I was told the home owners would be notified, only to learn they will only know about the meeting if they are active with the HOA and check the web for up and coming meeting agendas. :( So, luckily I kept good notes and wrote up a friendly letter and went door to door again asking those that had showed an interest in owning hens and asked them to attend. Not a single person called to talk to me or say they would attend :( but my neighbor did say they would be there. Maybe people will just show up. I was discouraged, but very hopeful and optimistic and I've prepared a poster, petition signature letter, letter of intent and chicken facts sheet.
    I think the hard part will be getting the 77 signature votes we need to pass, as most people will toss the ballet in the garbage not realize that seals a NO vote for those of us that want them and most people are too busy to get involved in something that doesn't directly effect them. I will try to recruit helpers at the HOA meeting to help me go door to door when it's ballet time, as I hate to do this alone and this seams like a great excuse to get the community together.

    Thanks to those that posted helpful info and resources that have helped me in my quest and prepare for my up and coming HOA meeting.

    Carla
    Queen Creek, AZ
     
  8. Oknev

    Oknev Out Of The Brooder

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    I am facing the some of the same things you are but ours are restrictions. We need 75 percent of our neighbors sign a petition but we only have 4 so maybe our chances aren't too bad. I would love to see the letter you wrote to your neighbors and how you did your petition. I am not sure how to get started and where to take the petition if we do get it signed.
    Good luck to you!
    Karen
     
  9. McCarla

    McCarla New Egg

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    Jan 20, 2014
    Hello Just Hatched- Sorry, I couldn't figure out how to attach this as a doc, so I cut and pasted the whole petition letter. I have to brag, I made contact with 34 neighbors and received 32 yes signatures! Only two people said "well, then they'll want cows next" and a "no thanks." I included two on the back because after I received their signature, they disclosed that they are renting or not the owner and I didn't want to make them feel bad that their signature was not valid... Over all I was blown away by the positive response and beyond pleasantly surprised with the results. I asked for 7 hens because I figured during negotiations, the Board would request only 3 and we would settle on 5 and I knew they would need to be set 15 ft from the prop line, but you have to let the Board feel like they won somewhere... ;)

    Update, I attended a couple HOA mtgs and the Board wanted me to ask the town for a variance where I attempted twice with no return call. :( Although I received enough signatures and lots of cheer leaders and "I'll be at the next HOA mtg" from the community, nobody shows up to help do the leg work. At the last HOA mtg I expressed my discouragement regarding the community wanting chickens, but nobody wanting to help and shared that "I feel if the community wants them, then the community should step up." So, I kinda gave up. I'm a working mom with husband and two kids and have a house and family run and moved on. I have not received another letter and I think as Golden Feather stated, because they disclosed that they had known about our chickens, but didn't act on it, it's no longer enforceable. It's sad because there is no closure and I keep waiting to get another letter when the Board members aren't so busy and I haven't let my hens out (in the back yard) since the letter. I suppose if I receive another letter, I will be forced to pursue the matter and try to contact the town again.



    We respectfully request the HOA to implement a permitting process to allow a small number of backyard hens following these guidelines:
    1. Chickens and their enclosures must be kept in a neat, clean and sanitary condition free from offensive odors, excessive noise, or any other condition that would constitute a nuisance.
    2. Homes shall be permitted to keep no more than 7 hens per household.
    3. Roosters are prohibited.
    4. Chicken enclosures must be places in back yards at least 10 feet from the property line.


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