Informed that I was in violation of our covenants???

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by jessicayarno, Mar 13, 2012.

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  1. jessicayarno

    jessicayarno Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I got a knock on the door last night from the president of our so called association. I live in the county in fact our neighbors across the street have cattle and horses. We bought and paid for this house 2 yrs ago, and before we did I read and made sure that we could have farm animals. Our covenant states that we are allowed two large animals meaning horse, cow, llama, or emu.OR 4 small animals meaning calves, sheep, goats. Then the covenant goes on to say "Poultry, domestic ratite, and small animals will also be allowed, but in all cases must be adequately cared for and must be confined in a satisfactory manner to the owner's property." I can't find anywhere in that, that I am only allowed a certain amount of poultry, but my president is stating that it says i can have 6 animals total. I would think that if the poultry was included in the small animals that it would have listed them, but it doesn't. My neighbors are complaining that my birds smell and that the wind blows it right to their house, well they knew when they bought the house behind me that I had chickens and there house sits right behind my pasture. I am very clean with my birds, but I do compost the manure. I started raising batches of 50 meat birds in the warmer months. What rights do I have??? I am willing to fight this as long as I can win. I moved to the country so that I could have chickens and now I am being told I can only have six and that I am not allowed to raise chicken to feed my family of 7. Please help...
     
  2. jessicayarno

    jessicayarno Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anybody please?? My husband and I feel that if there was a limit on poultry that it should be listed in the covenants. Are we wrong???
     
  3. ambrosia

    ambrosia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 21, 2011
    The law should work in your favor in this... without an actual statement of numbers, you have the right to keep what you currently have in my opinion. It sounds like the 'loophole' was created by not making more specific statements regarding numbers of poultry. Its never good to have neighbors that would rather complain to a counsel than come directly to your doorstep, but perhaps talking to them could ease some tensions? I don't know what I would do in your situation other than try to keep my neighbors happy, so that your family does not suffer needlessly...

    Good luck to you!
     
  4. Presidential

    Presidential Out Of The Brooder

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    What "association" is the complainant representing? How much land do you have? Are these neighborhood covenants? Are you zoned agricultural or residential?


    Would it be better for you to fight this legal battle or walk over, shake hands with your nieghbor, and try to hear what their complaints are, so you can work to find a neighborly resolution? You may be in for an uphill battle with or without flock numbers specified. Nuisance laws in an area with signed deed restrictions will frown on stinky neighbors.
     
  5. SelfSufficient

    SelfSufficient Out Of The Brooder

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    I agree that you should be protected by the loophole and the fact that the complaining neighbors bought after you has the cickens . But I wonder If the primary compliant is smell - are there steps you and the neighbor can both do to alleviate it? Plant something(s) along property line on both sides to filter the odor, tall trees, shriubs and then fragrant flowering somethings. Your offering to meet in the middle would be a show of good faith effort.
     
  6. jessicayarno

    jessicayarno Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are in a non-formal HOA, and our home is zoned agricultural and yes there are restrictions on how many livestock we can raise, but there aren't any restrictions listed in the covenants, on how many poultry we can have, just that we have to take care of them and keep them contained. The neighbors that lived there before never complained. I personally think that these people have nothing better to do, and in my opinion if you don't want to smell animal manure you shouldn't move into a home that is situated directly behind a pasture. The crazy thing is, is that one of the others in the HOA has chickens, but mine are the ones that are a problem, oh and there coop is situated where winds will blow the smell directly to their home also. I was so upset about this, because I am a stay at home mom with 5 children and this is how I earn extra money, by selling extra meat birds and eggs. We planned on living in the house for the rest of our lives, the whole reason we paid in full for the home. I know that no matter what I am going to run into people that have nothing better to do than gripe and complain, but I really don't want to be enemies with my neighbors. I do wish that they would have just come to me and talked to me about it. I guess my next question is. Should I just hire an attorney??
     
  7. jessicayarno

    jessicayarno Chillin' With My Peeps

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    @ Selfsufficient I actually suggested that last night. I came up with a ton of suggestions, but the president acted like it didn't matter what suggestions I had, that I simply could only raise enough birds to feed my family. Okay great that he is willing to compromise, but are the neighbors that complained willing to compromise? Oh and who dictates how many chickens is enough to feed my large family? Do I tell my teenage boys that they are only allowed to eat one egg because our neighbors said that we can only have one chicken per family member? I am not willing to just stop raising birds because they have a problem with the smell of chicken poop. I will however do what i can do within reason to make them happy. I am not out to start a war, but I am doing my part to feed my family healthy homegrown food and I feel that is my God-given right and nobody is going to take that away from me. I moved to the country out of a subdivision so that I could have chickens. I personally don't think that 50 chickens smell any worse than 2 cows or 2 horses. Maybe I am just immune to the smell because I was raised in the country and we had chickens and our neighbors had cattle.
     
  8. Presidential

    Presidential Out Of The Brooder

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    No, no. Take a deep breath. Don't hire an atty just yet - it will send the message that you are looking for a fight, instead of a resolution. The atty will be there if you need him/her in the future.

    Just as you would have liked the neighbor to come to you - - YOU go to the neighbor. Think of a few things you can do to help the situation - show your neighbor that you will make a good faith effort - LISTEN to what their concerns are.


    Devil's Advocate:
    You write,"Our covenant states that we are allowed two large animals meaning horse, cow, llama, or emu.OR 4 small animals meaning calves, sheep, goats. Then the covenant goes on to say "Poultry, domestic ratite, and small animals will also be allowed, but in all cases must be adequately cared for and must be confined in a satisfactory manner to the owner's property."

    The words, "adequately cared for" and "satisfactory manner" may be what comes back to bite you. If you get an atty - HOA gets an atty - and they come to your neighbor's house on a balmy day to wiff the wind... Will they smell your coop? Will a city girl atty think your chickens are being cared for "adequately"? Their argument will be that you signed the covenant when you moved there - - 2 horses OR 4 goats... would that lead a judge to believe 50 chickens would be acceptable? You will be leaving it up to others to decide "satisfactory manner" if you get litigators involved. Also, "... I earn extra money, by selling extra meat birds and eggs." You can't do that unless you have a business license and your property is zoned properly. So, you must compromise with your HOA or possibly lose your flock and your extra income.

    You have a lot to lose - - tread lightly - - smile sweetly -- talk to your neighbors and resolve this independant of the law.
    How far into the "country" did you move that you have a HOA that says you can only have 4 goats? Is it possible that you had false expectations?
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012
  9. OldGuy43

    OldGuy43 Chillin' With My Peeps

    It is my understanding that courts abide by the rule that an ambiguous contract is interpreted against the party who drafted it. In other words, the party who did not draft the contract will be given the benefit of the doubt.
     
  10. Presidential

    Presidential Out Of The Brooder

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    I keep thinking of your situation. It is a shame. I'd like to see you work this out!! I think talking face to face with your neighbor should be your first step, but...

    If your HOA is "non-formal", as you stated in your post... the deed restrictions may not be legally enforced. So, the county laws would take precedence. Check your local restrictions. You said you are zoned agriculture - - this could be to your benefit. Then all you have to do is print off a copy of your county zone restrictions and hand them to your HOA. Let the HOA and County bicker. HOA may not have a legal leg to stand on.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012
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