I just got a letter from the zoning board :*(

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by dawnjoennikki98, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. dawnjoennikki98

    dawnjoennikki98 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2010
    New Jersey
    One or more of my neighbors have turned me in. I know its my own fault, but I am so sick over this, and just out of my mind. I have 8 ducks, that my daughter and i incubated. They hatched in late August. We JUST completed the run for them, been working on it for about two months now....NOW someone complains?? My daughter has a serious anxiety disorder, and depression. This past summer, she was 11 and having suicidal thoughts. She was hospitalized. Long story, but the ducks were her saving grace...She is their "mommy" and there is no way she can give them up...and it is all my fault [​IMG]..... My options are to write a letter to mayor and council asking for a waiver to keep the ducks...very unlikely to get. and have a site surveyer survey the property and structure, and turn that in with an application for a permit for the run. if it has no floor, and is just wood and wire, is it actually an accessory building??? Any words of wisdom, or advice is appreciated....

  2. Pastor Mike

    Pastor Mike Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 13, 2010
    Redmond Oregon
    Take it one step at a time. First go to the board and present your case from your daughters perspective. Show them the importance it holds for her well being. Ask for a variance / waiver to allow her to keep them. A door not knocked on may turn out to be open. I would go so far as get a Doctor to suggest it in writing as an emotional support. Ask them to show you the hoops and play on their sympathy.
  3. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    What do your ordinances say? Just because a neighbor complained doesn't mean she is right. Is the problem noted by the zoning board actually the animals, or non-permitted structures?
  4. Attila the Hen

    Attila the Hen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 6, 2010
    Blue Ridge GA
    I am so sorry to hear this and I have no idea what the answer is. Considering your daughter's situation, I would pull out all the stops to see how I could keep the ducks. Try your suggestion, maybe talk to the neighbors and tell them about how much they mean to your daughter. Failing all of that perhaps you can find them a home nearby where your daughter can visit. I don't know what is going on but it sounds like you are beating yourself up. Things happen even when we have the best intentions.

    I sort of understand because I have had problems with my neighbor--long story called Crazy Neighbor.
  5. chicks4kids

    chicks4kids Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2009
    Northern Indiana
    Maybe having your daughter write a letter (or even speaking) to them may help the situation, but definitely get a doctors opinion in writing on this matter. If you can show that it has literally helped ease her mind and bring her to a calmer more relaxed state, they may allow her to keep a few of them.

    Perhaps explaining to them the measures that you would be willing to go to as far as the upkeep of their housing and making sure that they don't escape could be good points in your defense.

    When you say that your neighbor turned you in, what does that mean exactly? Are you in a subdivision where you're only allowed to have certain animals? Or are you in a town where "farm" animals are not allowed? I'm confused a little bit....more background may help us to give you more ideas on how to approach this situation.
  6. dawnjoennikki98

    dawnjoennikki98 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2010
    New Jersey
    thanks everyone. Yes I am in a small town in NJ that does not allow livestock. It doesn't name ducks, but I'm assuming they are included. The letter reads "it has come to our attention that you are building a large structure on your property without a permit, and that there are several ducks on your property." they are loud when they quack, but otherwise don't leave my yard, or even their pen most of the time for that matter. by dusk they are in their shed and quiet until about 9 or 10 am! I'm thinking the main problem is the structure causing an eyesore....since no one had complained until now when it's finished? the neighbors directly behind my property have the best view of my yard. I could build a fence at the back of my property which would completely block it from their view. Should I include that option in my letter? I will have my daughter also write a letter, great idea, thanks. I live in Fair Haven NJ which is one of the most snooty yuppy towns in the world. it's actually my parents home and property....
  7. Tropical Chook

    Tropical Chook Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2010
    I'm really sorry to hear of your situation. What breed of ducks do you have? I have Muscovy ducks and I have never heard one of them quack. Anyway, I get the impression it's the structure causing the problem rather than the ducks.

    Whenever I question my decision to move to Thailand, I just need to read one of these posts and I realize I made the best decision in the world. Hell, if I went and asked for a permit to keep a few ducks and chickens, they'd look at me as if I'm daft. The Thais think nothing of it if you keep some livestock, and foreigners who do approve of such things, should come to live here in the first place. I live on the outskirts of a beautiful seaside resort town and I have roosters crowing all around me, and now my own roosters join in the melody [​IMG] The house just next door to us is owned by a Danish couple that spend about four months of the year over here. They complain about everything so I can't wait to see their reaction when the arrive at the end of the year and realize my wife and I have chickens and a few duck. I just hope they don't start enjoying the sound of my roosters [​IMG]
  8. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    I have found your municipal codes online and they are very strict, but do not necessarily preclude you from ever keeping such animals as they have specific procedures in place for requesting variances for animals. Here is the section on how to apply for a variance. They have it all laid out for you. Your best bet is to know this and follow it to the letter:

    5-18.4 Application for Waiver; Notice.

    An owner desirous of owning and maintaining a non-domestic prohibited animal as provided for herein shall have the right to make application to the Mayor and Council of the Borough for a waiver under this section. The application for a hearing before the Mayor and Council must be submitted not less than ten (10) days prior to a regularly scheduled meeting, with notice published in the official newspaper of the Borough of Fair Haven not less than ten (10) days prior to said meeting, and giving written notice to all property owners within two hundred (200) feet of the applicant's property. The applicant shall obtain a certified list of all property owners within two hundred (200) feet of his/her property from the Borough of Fair Haven's Tax Assessor's office.

    a. Type of Notice. Notice must be made to all property owners within two hundred (200) feet of the applicant's property by regular and certified mail, return receipt requested, with proof of service being presented to the Mayor and Council at the time of the hearing with an affidavit setting forth that the mailing has been made to the appropriate property owners.

    b. Form of Notice. The notice shall set forth the following:

    1. Name and address of the applicant.

    2. The address and lot and block number of the household or dwelling unit for which the applicant intends to harbor the non-domestic animal.

    3. The nature of the waiver requested, setting forth the number and identity of the proposed non-domestic animal.

    4. The date, time and place of the hearing before the Mayor and Council.

    c. Consideration for Granting of Waiver, Burden of Proof and Vote. By majority vote of quorum of the Borough Council, the Mayor and Council may grant or deny an application for a request for a waiver based upon a preponderance of evidence that the applicant has demonstrated good cause for the granting of such waiver. In examining whether or not a waiver should be granted, the following shall be considered:

    1. The size of the property of the applicant where the non-domestic animal(s) are intended to be kept.

    2. The distance between the location of where the non-domestic animal is intended to be kept on the applicant's property and the physical location of an adjacent property owner's home or dwelling unit.

    3. Whether the applicant's property is fenced so as to shield the non-domestic animals from the sight of the surrounding property owners.

    4. Whether the non-domestic animals are kept in the applicant's home or remain primarily outside of the applicant's home.

    5. The proposed non-domestic animal and its size.

    6. The prior history of complaints filed against the applicant for violation of this section, or previous ordinances pertaining to animal control.

    7. The zoning district of the applicant's property,

    8. Whether the non-domestic animals serves some purpose other than the desire to have a non-domestic animal as a pet.

    9. For other such reasons as the Mayor and Council may feel appropriate to consider according in the case, facts and circumstances presented at the time the application is heard.

    d. State Number of Non-Domestic Animals. Should the applicant's request for a waiver be granted, the Mayor and Council shall set the number of proposed non-domestic animals permitted.

    e. Revocation of Waiver. A waiver granted by the Mayor and Council may be revoked upon proper application made by a Borough official, member of the Borough Police Department or an individual by making applications to the Mayor and Council at least ten (10) days proper to a Council meeting and by serving notice upon the owner by regular and certified mail, return receipt requested, of the application for revocation of the waiver. The notice shall also include a factual basis for the requested revocation. A hearing shall then be held by the Council on the application for revocation. The Mayor and Council will evaluate the application for revocation of waiver based upon the same criteria previously set forth herein under this section.

    f. Vacancies. All non-domestic animals as authorized by a waiver shall be vaccinated against rabies and any other disease as required by a licensed veterinarian and all vaccines shall be done in accordance with the following:

    1. Vaccination shall be performed by a veterinarian licensed to practice in the State of New Jersey. The vaccine used shall be from a manufacturer licensed by the Bureau of Animal Husbandry of the United States Department of Agriculture or such other agency as shall be approved by the State Department of Health. The dosage shall be as recommended by the manufacturer. All animals shall be revaccinated before the expiration of the period of time for which the vaccine used is known to be effective.

    2. No waiver shall be granted until the certificate indicating that the animal has been vaccinated or otherwise inoculated has been presented to the Borough Clerk. The certificate shall be submitted with the request for a waiver application but no later than the hearing date schedule for the waiver application hearing.
    (Ord. No. 2008-19)

    5-18.5 Limitations on Granting of Waiver/Permit.

    The granting of a waiver and permit hereunder shall in no way authorize the creation of a nuisance or the maintenance of an obnoxious condition and shall in no way regulate or prevent the passing of future ordinances concerning the prohibition of or the limitation upon the keeping of non-domestic animals. (Ord. No. 2008-19)

    5-18.6 Term of Permit; Expiration; Fee.

    Any permit granted after obtaining a waiver, shall be valid for a period of one (1) year from the date it is issued. A permit must be obtained on annual basis. The permit fee shall be twenty-five ($25.00) dollars. (Ord. No. 2008-19)

    5-18.7 Building, Feeding and Operational Requirements.

    Any person having obtained a waiver as set forth herein shall comply with the following provisions:

    a. The storage of any such non-domestic animal shall be such as to preclude odors and sounds therefrom from interfering with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property on neighboring premises.

    b. Building, food storage bins, appliances, equipment, feeding areas and other facilities on the premises which might provide food or shelter are to be constructed and maintained in such a fashion as to permit proper cleansing.

    c. The water supply shall be adequate for proper sanitation.

    d. Water or other liquids to which mosquitoes may have access shall be properly treated to prevent their breeding.

    e. Rodents to insects hazardous to public health shall be controlled so that they do not exist or reproduce therein or thereon.

    f. Adequate equipment shall be available to maintain all yards, enclosures or premises in which such non-domestic animals shall be kept, raised or maintained in a sanitary condition at all times
    (Ord. No. 2008-19)

    5-18.8 Fencing.

    The area wherein the non-domestic animals are kept, except where they are housed in closed buildings, shall be completely fenced with a sturdy, well constructed closely woven wire fence or other equally effective fence so as to prevent trespassing on adjoining property. (Ord. No. 2008-19)

    5-18.9 Violations and Penalties.

    A person guilty of violating the provisions of this section shall be subject to a fine in an amount not to exceed one hundred ($100.00) dollars for the first offense and no more than five hundred ($500.00) dollars for all subsequent offenses. (Ord. No. 2008-19)
  9. chicks4kids

    chicks4kids Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2009
    Northern Indiana
    I definitely would include the option for a fence - it shows that you are willing (despite the cost to you) to do what it takes to keep your daughter on the path that is working for her. You could also suggest some trees...that's always a plus especially when it comes to being "green" [​IMG] You could propose how some dogs bark incessantly and that your ducks are "in bed" by dusk and are less annoying than a barking dog.

    The thing that bothers me is that people are butting themselves into other peoples lives. I think it has to do with ignorance. The fact that the neighbors DONT know about ducks, makes them want to protest it. If it is the building as you suspect it might be, then definitely propose an idea to make it look more "cutesie" more like your home perhaps and less like a coop. Perhaps a decorated shed look (like a garden shed) with the suggestion of vining flowers (morning glories perhaps) growing up the sides to camouflage the run to satisfy your neighbors. If you have neighbors that have sheds, take pictures of them and use them in comparison to your own duck house.
  10. NorTracNY

    NorTracNY Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 1, 2008
    Macedon, NY
    You need everything to the town to be from your parents if it's their home. Or you at the least need a letter from them letting the town know you are representing them.

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