How to legally have chickens when the zoning ordinances says I can't

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by cgizzy, Aug 3, 2014.

  1. cgizzy

    cgizzy New Egg

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    Jul 13, 2012
    Kalamazoo, MI
    I live, literally, just outside the city of Galesburg, MI. My street is actually where the city ends; everything on the west side of the street is within city limits, everything on the east side of the street (where my house is) is outside the city limits. According to our zoning ordinances I cant have chickens (I cant even raise meat rabbits, but I can have pet rabbits--how they would know the difference I dont know, the ordinances are really strict and thorough and I've tried finding a loophole).

    I've looked into the right to farm act, and from my understanding that is just for commercial uses. I only want 6 hens, to provide eggs for my husband and I. We live on just under an acre of land, and our land backs up to agricultural land (wooded acreage, than fields). The person no more than quarter mile east away from me, which from what I can see from the zoning map, is zoned exactly the same as my land, has a horse farm (though that farm has been there for at least 20 years, so maybe it was grandfathered in).

    Does anyone know how I can go about having chickens legally? I'm really just looking for a place to start. As far as I'm concerned, If the city of Kalamzoo allows you four chickens with the permission of your neighbors, Galesburg should allow chickens too. I'm not opposed to getting my neighbors permission and having them illegally. I just want to try it legally first.

    I've no idea where to start, and would really appreciate any advice offered.
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    If you are not within city limits then city ordinances do not apply to you. Are you indicating your county ordinance also prohibits possession of chickens?
     
  3. cgizzy

    cgizzy New Egg

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    Jul 13, 2012
    Kalamazoo, MI
    It's actually the township ordinances... but whether I call it township or city doesn't matter, they both have the same policy when it comes to farm animals.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Can you post the township ordinance as there may be a loop hole.

    You situation is a very important reason we chose to move to our current location.
     
  5. cgizzy

    cgizzy New Egg

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    Jul 13, 2012
    Kalamazoo, MI
    I'm zoned R-3 Single families and two family residential district.

    here is a link to the ordinances http://www.charlestontownship.org/ordinances/Township_Zoning_Ordinance.pdf

    it falls under section XXI which if you type page 118 on the pdf search, you'll pull it up right away.

    Here is how it defines farm animal.

    4. Farm Animal: Any live animal (other than a domestic animal) of a species
    customarily and normally kept as livestock on a farm; and also any other
    animal other than dogs, cats, exotic animals and wild animals, raised for
    commercial profit or slaughter.
    a. Large farm animals: cows and other bovine, horses and other
    equine, hogs and other swine, sheep and goats and other ovine,
    and other livestock animals of comparable size.
    b. Small farm animals: chickens and other poultry, turkeys, ducks,
    geese, and rabbits, and other livestock animals of comparable size.

    And this is what it says about farms animals in my zoning

    "R-3" Single Family and Two Family Residential District, "R-4" Multiple
    Family Residential District, "R-6" Mobile Home Park Residential District,
    “R-7" Single Family Residential Subdivision District, Commercial and
    Industrial Districts, and "R-IP" Research and Industrial Park District: In
    these zoning districts farm animals are not allowed.

    and here is a zoning map http://www.charlestontownship.org/zoningmap-2011.pdf

    my house is located just to the right of McCollum Rd, in the medium orangeish colored square. the township is only open tuesday and thursday, so I'll call them tomorrow to see what I can do, but in the mean time, I'm want learn more so I can phone a little more prepared on what to do.

    My husband and I want to buy land. But due to circumstances right now, we don't foresee that happening for 3-4 years. Unless circumstances change quicker than expected.
     

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