1. Kristalea85

    Kristalea85 New Egg

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    Jun 23, 2014
    We are looking to get started in keeping chickens in our backyard, but our town Zoning Regulations are unclear about chickens. I am wondering if chickens are generally considered "farm animals" or if we can get away with having them as "pets". Here is the wording from our zoning board:

    "FARM ANIMALS: Any domestic animal maintained primarily for milk or food production or
    raw materials for natural fiber products including horses maintained for recreational purposes.

    FARM BUILDING: A building in which farm animals are housed or fed."

    And each zone has different "permitted uses". "Farming" is permitted in each zone except it is omitted from the list in the smallest one (R20), which is where we live. They also require a setback of 150ft from every property line for any farm buildings in all the other zones R40 and bigger. Here is how that is worded:

    "No farm building or manure pile may be located within 150 feet of any property line."

    So, I am wondering if I need to make a presentation to the Zoning Board to get the text changed allowing chickens specifically. Or, if they can be considered pets and not farm animals. And, I am also wondering if it would be a good idea to build a portable chicken tractor as opposed to a standard coop? Any advice or experience you can share with this would be great!!!

    Also, anyone else from Montville (including Oakdale, Uncasville, and Chesterfield) would be more than welcome to join this thread so we can work together on getting this changed if we need to.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Teery

    Teery Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Inland Empire So. Cal
    And each zone has different "permitted uses". "Farming" is permitted in each zone except it is omitted from the list in the smallest one (R20), which is where we live. They also require a setback of 150ft from every property line for any farm buildings in all the other zones R40 and bigger. Here is how that is worded:

    "No farm building or manure pile may be located within 150 feet of any property line."

    So, I am wondering if I need to make a presentation to the Zoning Board to get the text changed allowing chickens specifically. Or, if they can be considered pets and not farm animals. And, I am also wondering if it would be a good idea to build a portable chicken tractor as opposed to a standard coop? Any advice or experience you can share with this would be great!!!

    Also, anyone else from Montville (including Oakdale, Uncasville, and Chesterfield) would be more than welcome to join this thread so we can work together on getting this changed if we need to.

    Thanks!

    The city will generally have a description of what is, and what is not a farm animal. You may have to dig deeper. Most city and zoning regulations are designed to be written vague. This is by design so agencies can "interpret" regulations however they want...It happens with many rules and reg's....What people don't do is look for the statute that gives the city the authority to "zone" in the first place...What people also fail to do is ask if that rule, reg, statute, was written directly for them? ...If so, then one has to ask, what empirical evidence or facts can the city present in court that there law, rule, ordinance, statute, etc. applies to "you"....You have to understand jurisdiction and the elements needed for a "cause of action". should you find yourself in a situation that the city put you in...
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Kristalea85

    Kristalea85 New Egg

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    Jun 23, 2014
    The above is copied from the towns zoning regulations definitions section. That's why I'm having a hard time figuring out if they consider chickens pets or farm animals....it is really vague. There was also a case here that I looked up where someone had chickens and got an approval from the town (after a cease and desist I believe) because he got letters from his neighbors stating they didn't have a problem with the chickens, and because he was primarily keeping them for pest control (ticks and other insects). I have also heard of an exception being made if the chickens are being kept as show birds? I was wondering what everyone's experience has been with those types of things. I plan on asking the town outright (anonymously over the phone, first) and possibly trying to get a variance from the town, even taking it to the zoning board of appeals if I have to. But, if its no big deal I'd rather not bother the zoning board and put myself on their radar.
     
  4. Kristalea85

    Kristalea85 New Egg

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    Jun 23, 2014
    So according to the person I talked to at the planning and zoning department you have to have 5 acres in order to own chickens, no exceptions. Not even allowed to ask the zoning board based on your individual situation. Calling ZBA next...
     
  5. Kristalea85

    Kristalea85 New Egg

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    Sorry for all the posts, but I keep finding more bad news as I continue to do research. I am hoping there are others in Montville that would join me in trying to change the regulations so that chickens can be kept by anyone that wants them. It looks like that case was denied that I read before, mostly because they didn't want to approve something for one person and set a presedence where everybody else would want chickens too. Does anyone know how to get the law changed, who to speak to, any advice on how to present a change to the text? It would be great to make this legal for everyone here!
     
  6. agburt

    agburt New Egg

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    Jul 18, 2014
    Hi Kristalea-

    I live in Oakdale and right next to a farm but just have an acre and a half. I'm isolated from any neighbors and intend to put up a small coop. I'd be interested in what you've come up with. I will probably just go ahead with my plan and assume that the town will never figure me out!

    -Adam
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. buckbye

    buckbye Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A low profile and a little discretion are likely all you need.
     
  8. Shayune

    Shayune New Egg

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    Sep 26, 2014
    I live in Oakdale as well. I live on 1 1/2 acres, and I have six chickens that most of our neighbors are fine with. One neighbor recently decided to call the zoning board on us, so we are in a battle to keep our chickens. Our argument is that since our chickens are actually mostly past the age that they are laying eggs, they are pets and not farm animals. However, we might lose them anyway. I would love to join forces with you and anyone else who can work to change the zoning laws in Montville.
     
  9. Tweeza

    Tweeza Chillin' With My Peeps

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    >>>Shayune: I live in Oakdale as well. I live on 1 1/2 acres, and I have six chickens

    Wow, 1 1/2 acres! That's a lot of land compared to 6 chickens. I have just over an acre with 17 average chickens and 5 banties. We still have lots of unused land even though our chickens free range in a very large fenced in chicken yard (previous flock roamed free of fencing until a hungry fox came for dinner). We have great neighbors. One said they liked the hens (we used to give them eggs occasionally). The other said we had enough eggs to sell them some weekly. I tried to tell him we really didn't have that many but he was determined. He really wanted 2 dozen but we settled on one, two if I had them. I haven't been able to sell more than the 1 doz. and extra to give away hasn't happened until recently when the pullets started laying.

    Anyway, I thought CT was a "right to farm state?" Or does that not mean anything?

    Edit: included quote from Shayune (pressed the wrong button[​IMG])
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2014
  10. Kristalea85

    Kristalea85 New Egg

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    Here is the text of the right to farm law. It basically means that a farm can't be considered a nuisance just for being a farm and operating as such. Its good that they protect farming, but I don't know if it applies where you can't farm in the first place, which, in Montville, is on anything less than 5 acres. http://www.ct.gov/doag/cwp/view.asp?a=1366&q=259086 Its pretty silly to require such a large area when chickens would easily fit on a much smaller yard without bothering neighbors.
     

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