Ideas for helping to shape new city ordinance so it's simple & sane?

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by JessicainOhio, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. JessicainOhio

    JessicainOhio Out Of The Brooder

    29
    0
    22
    Aug 8, 2010
    Bexley, Ohio, currently has no city ordinance specifically regarding chickens. Nonseq kindly rustled up this from the city code enforcement officer:
    "There are no regulations against having chickens in your yard. They do fall under the animal control ordinances so I believe you cannot have more that four and conditions must be kept sanitary."

    BUT, I have it on good authority that the Zoning Commission of City Council will be taking up the issue in September.

    I plan on being there to encourage the Council to be reasonable with any ordinances they pass. Bexley, Ohio, is pretty conservative about this sort of white-picket-fencing thing (just passed a ordinance requiring bike helmets). My hunch is that they'd pass something banning chickens outright if no one was looking -- but I also don't want to go in guns-blazing and make it into something it's not. I think the way things are is probably best! But if there's going to be legislation, I'd like to have it easy to understand and simple to follow.

    Is there anyone who knows about the legal side of things, or who has already worked with their own city council on the issue of chickens, who can give me a little coaching? I feel like the right strategy, in addition to good information, will be really important.

    -Jessica
     
  2. Agnella

    Agnella Chillin' With My Peeps

    154
    0
    99
    Jul 20, 2010
    N. Georgia
    I'm just starting to go through this issue myself. Good luck to you!

    Some advice I've been given:

    -Bring pro-chicken people to meetings to show support. Maybe have everyone wear the same color.
    -Avoid ordinances that specify coops/chickens need to be a certain distance from property lines...a specific distance from an occupied dwelling is much better if that becomes necessary.
    -Come to meetings prepared to state the positives of chicken ownership! Expect there to be people there who oppose chickens in residential areas.


    Let me know how it goes! I have my first meeting on the 17th. [​IMG]
     
  3. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    20,149
    305
    411
    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Emphasize that existing nuisance ordinances should already cover any nuisance that might arise; that it doesn't make a difference whether excessive noise is from a weedwhacker, a barking dog, a blaring stereo or a chicken, it's the level of volume, the persistance or the noise and the time of day that matter. Likewise, odor or flies from poorly maintained garbage cans, unkempt dog house or coop are the same nuisance. The nuisance is what needs to be regulated, not its cause.

    Provide lots of authentic information from reliable sources: Information from your State Vet, State Agriculture Department, Poultry Department of your state's Land-Grant University, County Extension Office, published books on keeping chickens, 4H materials on poultry, etc.

    Be prepared and have documented facts to counter misinformation (but let opponents them up--not good to plant negative ideas that have not already been mentioned).

    I would personally avoid any discussion of offsets, be it from yard or residence. Nuisance ordinances should take care of any issues, and if a neighbor wishes to enjoy the cozy spot under the apple tree in the corner of his yard, he should be able to, not be relegated to remaining in his house if he desires to enjoy tranquility. Offsets should match whatever existing zoning offsets are required for buildings/structures.
     
  4. Mark & Nique

    Mark & Nique Chillin' With My Peeps

    235
    0
    99
    Jun 20, 2010
    South Carolina
    I have a relative who lives in Minneapolis, MN, which recently revised their ordinance to allow chickens. This is the revised ordinance:

    Permit required. (a) No person shall anywhere in the city keep, harbor, or maintain care, custody, or control over any small animal or any fowl such as a chicken, turkey, duck, or pigeon, without obtaining a permit issued by Minneapolis Animal Care and Control.
    (b) The Manager of Minneapolis Animal Care and Control may grant permit pursuant to this section after the applicant has sought the written consent of at least eighty (80) percent of the occupants of the several descriptions of real estate situated within one hundred (100) feet of the applicant's real estate. Such written consent shall be required on the initial application and as often thereafter as the Manager of Minneapolis Animal Care and Control deems necessary.
    (c) No permit shall be granted to keep any animal, fowl, or pigeon within a dwelling unit or part thereof, nor on any real estate which contains three (3) or more dwelling units.
    (d) This section shall not apply to dogs, cats, ferrets, or rabbits nor to veterinarians or licensed pet shops or licensed kennels.
    (e) Application for permit. Any person desiring a permit under this chapter shall make written application to Minneapolis Animal Care and Control Approval of application is subject to conditions prescribed by Minneapolis Animal Care and Control. Failure to adhere to conditions is cause for cancellation of the permit and/or result in an administrative fine.
    (f) Duration of permit. All permits issued shall expire on January 31 of the following year after its issuance unless sooner revoked. The application fee for such permit shall be fifty dollars ($50.00) which shall be paid at the time of application. The annual renewal fee thereafter for such permit shall be forty dollars ($40.00). Minneapolis Animal Care and Control will inspect the premise annually or as deemed necessary.
    (g) Five-year permit. The fee for a five-year permit will be one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00). All five-year permits issued shall expire on January 31 of the year following the fifth year after its issuance unless sooner revoked. Minneapolis Animal Care and Control will inspect the premise annually or as deemed necessary.
    (h) Refusal to grant permit. Minneapolis Animal Care and Control may refuse a permit to keep or maintain animals or fowl hereunder for failure to comply with the provisions of this chapter, and shall refuse a permit if such animals or fowl should not be kept upon the premises described in the application for the permit. If any such permit is refused, the fee paid with the application shall be retained by Minneapolis Animal Care and Control.


    Basically, you have to (1) get permission from neighbors, (2) keep no more than 3 chickens, and (4) buy a permit -- item (f) above is the 'selling point.' When towns/cities see that they can make some revenue for essentially doing nothing, it can tip the scales.

    It is one of my goals to meet with an attorney, and using the above as a guide, change our current ordinance.
     
  5. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    20,149
    305
    411
    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Mark & Nique :

    I have a relative who lives in Minneapolis, MN, which recently revised their ordinance to allow chickens. This is the revised ordinance:

    Permit required. (a) No person shall anywhere in the city keep, harbor, or maintain care, custody, or control over any small animal or any fowl such as a chicken, turkey, duck, or pigeon, without obtaining a permit issued by Minneapolis Animal Care and Control.
    (b) The Manager of Minneapolis Animal Care and Control may grant permit pursuant to this section after the applicant has sought the written consent of at least eighty (80) percent of the occupants of the several descriptions of real estate situated within one hundred (100) feet of the applicant's real estate. Such written consent shall be required on the initial application and as often thereafter as the Manager of Minneapolis Animal Care and Control deems necessary.
    (c) No permit shall be granted to keep any animal, fowl, or pigeon within a dwelling unit or part thereof, nor on any real estate which contains three (3) or more dwelling units.
    (d) This section shall not apply to dogs, cats, ferrets, or rabbits nor to veterinarians or licensed pet shops or licensed kennels.
    (e) Application for permit. Any person desiring a permit under this chapter shall make written application to Minneapolis Animal Care and Control Approval of application is subject to conditions prescribed by Minneapolis Animal Care and Control. Failure to adhere to conditions is cause for cancellation of the permit and/or result in an administrative fine.
    (f) Duration of permit. All permits issued shall expire on January 31 of the following year after its issuance unless sooner revoked. The application fee for such permit shall be fifty dollars ($50.00) which shall be paid at the time of application. The annual renewal fee thereafter for such permit shall be forty dollars ($40.00). Minneapolis Animal Care and Control will inspect the premise annually or as deemed necessary.
    (g) Five-year permit. The fee for a five-year permit will be one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00). All five-year permits issued shall expire on January 31 of the year following the fifth year after its issuance unless sooner revoked. Minneapolis Animal Care and Control will inspect the premise annually or as deemed necessary.
    (h) Refusal to grant permit. Minneapolis Animal Care and Control may refuse a permit to keep or maintain animals or fowl hereunder for failure to comply with the provisions of this chapter, and shall refuse a permit if such animals or fowl should not be kept upon the premises described in the application for the permit. If any such permit is refused, the fee paid with the application shall be retained by Minneapolis Animal Care and Control.


    Basically, you have to (1) get permission from neighbors, (2) keep no more than 3 chickens, and (4) buy a permit -- item (f) above is the 'selling point.' When towns/cities see that they can make some revenue for essentially doing nothing, it can tip the scales.

    It is one of my goals to meet with an attorney, and using the above as a guide, change our current ordinance.

    That ordinance is far more restrictive than it needs to be. I strongly oppose permits unless ALL other pets must also be permitted. If your pet parakeet or hamster or cat or dog requires a permit, then fine, otherwise, NO. I also disagree with blanket permission to inspect the premises or coops. THis is giving away 4th amendment rights and is intolerable. If there are valid complaints about the condition of the animals or the premises, then yes, an inspection, following due process is appropriate. It also makes granting the permit entirely arbitrary as there are no "provisions of this chapter" other than an incomplete submission or excess birds.​
     
  6. palochknldy

    palochknldy Chillin' With My Peeps

    123
    2
    91
    Jun 7, 2010
    Palo, Iowa
    I just got our council to rewrite the ordinance to include 4 hens, no roosters. I was very lucky that it all went smoothly. Get a copy of your town ordinance if possible to see how it reads. The first meeting I drafted up a letter requesting they change the ordinance along with some key points about sustainable living, education for children and local food supply. The next meeting I came with a petition(having all the nearby neighbors sign). I live in a town of 900 and only had one resident at the meeting complain(of which he complains about everything at all the meetings, so they didn't pay much attention to it). I kept everything very low key. I was the only one pushing for this, so it didn't seem overwhelming to them. Too many people can get out of control and change their opinions very quickly. As far as having the chickens, we had them for 2 weeks before one of our neighbors asked when we were getting them. Good luck.
     
  7. JessicainOhio

    JessicainOhio Out Of The Brooder

    29
    0
    22
    Aug 8, 2010
    Agnella- How'd your meeting go?

    Sonoran Silkies- Thanks for the advice. Keeping it simple seems important. I think if the message is that there are already ordinances in place regulating any disturbances, this might go over well.

    My plan now is just to go sit in on the zoning commission meeting and not bring it up at all unless they do.


    I've heard of ordinances where only those people who've had complaints need to register their chickens. Anyone have experience with that type of system?

    As an aside: Yesterday I spoke with the one neighbor I was nervous about. He was SO COOL about the chickens! He told me stories about the chickens his grandma used to keep in her backyard. He even offered to loan me his live traps should the raccoons become a problem. I am so relieved and so thankful for having such a cool neighbor!!
     
  8. Agnella

    Agnella Chillin' With My Peeps

    154
    0
    99
    Jul 20, 2010
    N. Georgia
    I'm so glad your neighbor was cool! Yaayyy!! I have a neighbor who I'm afraid will not be so cool so I'm kinda avoiding her.....

    The meeting was alright. I wasn't able to go but I watched the video of it later. No one was asked to speak at this one. One Commissioner just brought up the subject of chickens and said what some of the proposed guidelines are. There were quite a few chuckles about the whole thing. They set the public opinion meeting for Sept 21. I'm going to do everything I can to get a large group of pro-chicken people there!
    My Commissioner said they will consider both sides, of course. There are four Commissioners and they are all open to updating the ordinance. They seem to want property line setbacks and to be able to define what would be considered a nuisance. I'm trying to get them to see that there are already enough nuisance ordinances in place that will cover the chickens. But they need to hear what the community wants!

    Good luck!
     
  9. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

    7,738
    101
    321
    Aug 17, 2008
    Larry, KS
    My Coop
    On the top of my BYC page is a link to an ordinance page. You can see our letter to the city and our successful ordinance as it's instated.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by