How would you all interpret this ordinance?


11 Years
Oct 7, 2008
Animals (horses, chickens, cattle, ducks) may be kept in conjunction with a farming operation or riding stable. No stable or shed providing shelter for said animals shall be closer than fifty (50) feet to any property line. In no case shall a horse or pony be kept on a lot of less than three (3) acres.

I do not have a farming operation, and live on a corner lot. I don't know without measuring if I meet the 50 ft from any property line.
Can't get around measuring...
Just do it.

As for "farming operation" - there may well be a definition of farm in the code. If there isn't, I suppose you could say that you have a farm if you want. My township defines a farm in terms of 20+ acres and then outlines exemptions to that definition, which includes a collection of animals for educational purposes. We homeschool & do 4-H, so I DARE anyone to challenge me on that.
I did a search for Farm under our ordinances, and this was all it said:

FARM: A tract of land having thereon an agricultural use.

Hey, I grow veggies and flowers...that's an agricultural use;)
Unfortunately, you need to talk to the town lawyer about the towns legal definition of "farming operation".

From Legal Definitions
What is a farm?

Any land used to produce crops, livestock, specialty livestock, or grazing and includes woodland and wasteland not under cultivation or used for pasture or grazing. According to the US Government, a farm is any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products were produced and sold, or normally would have been sold during the census year.

No matter what, this is going to be fuzzy, if you're in town.
Crops = garden, so you're covered as long as they don't go by the $1,000 requirement.
Livestock = chickens, if you meet the size requirements.

As for the property line, can't get away from that one.
Your property must be at minimum, 105' wide by 105' deep, 4'x4' coop with a 6" of leeway. And the coop must be in the very center of it.
Yes I know 101' X 101' is the minimum, but a 1square foot coop is not feasible.​
I am a lawyer and former planning commissioner.

Given your ordinance, I would say that if you tried to sell some of your eggs, you might qualify as a "farming operation". You could talk to your city attorney.

You do have to measure the lot lines as that is a given under your ordinance.

You might want to just do it and give some eggs to your neighbors so they don't complain. These things are usually enforced on a complaint basis so if there are no complaints, there may be no problem.

You should watch the video "Mad City Chickens". What the people in Madison WI did was just operate under the radar until someone made a complaint. By that time there were a number of people already raising chickens illegally who banded together and got the ordinance changed. Chickens are a lot less obnoxious than barking dogs, which usually aren't restricted. Once you have some critical mass you can come out of the closet and make that point.

Don't keep any roosters though.

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