I am heartbroken but still hopeful...

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by cinnamongirl, Sep 1, 2009.

  1. cinnamongirl

    cinnamongirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 29, 2009
    Deltona
    We've been planning to get a few chicks to keep in the backyard for all of the wonderful reasons everyone here already know. After considering this for months and doing sporadic research I joined this forum last week and have been researching everything there is to know about chickens (great site btw!). Originally I didn't plan on even checking my city's ordinances because although I live in a technically suburban area, one block away is farmland where people keep horses and whole herds of cows etc. and behind me is land that the city will never develop (I forget the exact term for it, but it just means they won't ever sell it and it will forever be a wooded area like a small nature preserve I guess). I didn't even think I was within the city limits. I figured that even if there were any ordinances against it, no one would be the wiser if I had a few hens in back. However there is an empty lot next door that was wooded until 2 years ago when a developer bought it, cleared it, laid a foundation, then apparently abandoned the project. They did this to that lot and another around the corner. Recently the one around the corner was picked back up and they are finishing the landscaping today. So I thought they might start next door again, thus bringing around whatever inspectors etc and maybe it would be wise to check after all. And so begins the heartache...
    Of course I'm within the city limits. And of course I'm not allowed to keep chickens according to what the people at city hall say. I've looked up the codes and I hope some of you creative people can find some inspiration for a way around it. I've emailed an attorney to tells me that for $250 he can look up the codes and explain them to me. Whatever. I looked them up for free and I don't need the explaination, I need a way around it! lol



    Sec. 14-3. Prohibited animals.
    (a) Specific animals. It shall be unlawful to keep, maintain or raise in the city the following animals:
    (1) Any artiodactyla (even toed) or Perissodactyla (odd toed) ungulate, including but not limited to animals in the genus Bos (cows), all species; Ovis (sheep), all species; and Capra (goats), all species; and all other hoofed animals.
    (2) Any animal belonging to the family Phasianidae or family Anatidae, all species, including but not limited to, chickens, roosters, turkeys, peacocks, geese and ducks.
    (3) Any dangerous animal.
    (4) Venomous reptiles.
    (5) Animals that have been declared "public nuisance animals" more than once.
    (b) Exceptions. Subsection (a) of this section is not intended to apply and it is an exception to those provisions regarding the keeping of prohibited animals if:
    (1) The prohibited animals are being kept at a zoological park or animal shelter licensed and operating in accordance with this Code.
    (2) The prohibited animals are trained guard animals or trained law enforcement animals and are maintained by a law enforcement agency and used exclusively by the law enforcement agency in fulfilling its duties.
    (3) The prohibited animals consist only of livestock, ungulates and poultry, and are being kept on a farm located in an agriculturally zoned area of the city.
    (4) The prohibited animals are being kept in an area zoned rural residential (RR) and are in compliance with the permitted use in that district as hobby breeder or personal use and not for resale, accessory to a single-family dwelling.
    (5) The animal is a dog that has been declared a "dangerous dog" pursuant to the procedure established in section 14-166, of division 3 of this chapter, and the owner is in compliance with the requirements of subsection 14-166(f).
    (6) A permit for the animal has been issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in accordance with F.S. ยง 372.922, but this exception shall only be to the extent that such statutes preempt this section.


    [​IMG] As for what happens if you are in violation, this is what follows:


    Sec. 14-6. Fine schedule.
    (a) Violations of any section of this chapter shall have the following civil penalty:
    (1) Violations for an animal which has been spayed/neutered:
    TABLE INSET:

    First Offense Second Offense Third Offense
    $50.00 $100.00 $250.00
    plus a mandatory court appearance

    (2) Violations for an intact (not spayed/neutered) animal:
    TABLE INSET:

    First Offense Second Offense Third Offense
    $100.00 $150.00 $300.00
    plus a mandatory court appearance

    (b) Any person cited under this chapter may have the penalty for violation reduced to the levels listed section 14-7(a)1) by having the intact animal spayed or neutered within 30 days of receipt of the civil violation notice.


    [​IMG] Is it even possible to spay a hen? Whatever.
    I've sent an email to Slow Food USA hoping they can at least point me in the right direction. Waiting to hear from them. It looks pretty solid. Does anyone think I stand a chance? I keep thinking I shouldn't have called. I have a completely fenced in back yard (6 foot privacy fence down both side yards and 6ft chain link across the back) so the only ones who could have ever noticed that I had them would have been the deer who come to my back gate. Don't think they'd tell on me. But since they had to check my address to see if I'm in the city limits, they now have a heads up. (Sounds paranoid lol)


    For future reference on this forum, I happen to be a lawyer in "real life" and have recently acquired some chickens. I was on our county planning commission for 8 years, our township planning commission for four years and am now a park district commissioner. I would be happy to help people with their local ordinance questions. No charge.

    Is that offer still good BigPeep? A fellow Floridian needs your help!​
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    There is an exception if you are a shelter. Perhaps you could look into what it would take to get licensed as a "chicken shelter". Or, if you are that close to farmland, maybe you could look into what it would take to get re-zoned as Rural Residential which would allow you to keep them as a hobby farmer?
     
  3. Silverlocks

    Silverlocks Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 21, 2009
    But what's your specific zoning? There is that section b listing exceptions:

    (3) The prohibited animals consist only of livestock, ungulates and poultry, and are being kept on a farm located in an agriculturally zoned area of the city.
    (4) The prohibited animals are being kept in an area zoned rural residential (RR) and are in compliance with the permitted use in that district as hobby breeder or personal use and not for resale, accessory to a single-family dwelling.

    Where I live in Malibu there are many different zones, some you can have chickens or other livestock and some not. The zones vary within the city limits. If you've got cows nearby, it sounds like you are awfully close to agricultural, so I'd be surprised if you aren't at least RR.​
     
  4. cinnamongirl

    cinnamongirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 29, 2009
    Deltona
    It's taken me forever to find a zoning map for Deltona. Unfortunately I'm zoned just plain old Residential. But I am literally surrounded on 3 sides by agricultural zoning. Preserved land behind me, Rural zoning just over 1000 feet to the north, and more maybe 2000 feet (if that) to my west. The 4 lots across from me are wooded too but there's nothing stopping anyone from building there. I have one immediate neighbor. No one would have known (grrrr that's what i get for trying to play by the rules)!
    I don't think the hobby farmer idea would work since it says you have to be zoned rurual residential AND a hobby farmer. I haven't been able to find anything yet on becoming a shelter. I downloaded the application for variance and it says I have to prove "literal interpretations of the provisions of this chapter would deprive the applicant of rights commonly enjoyed by other properties in the same zoning classifications, under the terms of the chapter, and would work an unnecessary and undue hardship on the applicant." What does that mean? Isn't the whole idea of a variance to do something outside of whatever zoning classification you currently have? Is that their way around ever having to change zoning? And I don't know how I can prove an unnecessary hardship. It's not necessary for us to have chickens, but it's not necessary to make them illegal either.
    When I bought my house I sat down in the grass in the backyard and ran my fingers through it and said to my kids "This is OUR little chunk of the earth." I've been here for almost 4 years and have remodeled the whole thing on my own. There's not a single square inch that I haven't improved with my own blood, sweat, and tears. I wanted to live out my whole life here. But this whole chicken thing has changed my mind. I still love my home. But I don't want to live where there are ignorant laws that tell me I can't do something so harmless.[​IMG]
     
  5. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Tempe, Arizona
    If you are surrounded on three sides by a different zoning district, I would expect that you might petition to have your zoning changed to match, and have a pretty good chance of getting the change.
     
  6. cinnamongirl

    cinnamongirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 29, 2009
    Deltona
    It really does sound that easy but I don't think it will be. The area that actually has farms belongs to the neighboring town so I'm not sure they'd even take that into consideration. Also the homes on my street (I'm actually in a cul de sac) and the next are very "suburban". I think I'm going to keep researching and try to lay low for the time being. Maybe I'll be ready for battle after the new year and I'll be well prepared. I've been absorbing every post on here and I know everyone is trying to be helpful but hearing about everyone having their chickens seized and even going to jail has me terrified. I at least want to feel a little confident when I plop down the money for the variance. It's $350 just to ask...
     

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