must remove my coop?!

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by ebifish, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. ebifish

    ebifish Hatching

    Sep 20, 2013
    My neighbor hates me, mostly for things that happened before I moved in. But currently he is waging a war against my chickens asI have "falsely"accused his dog of digging into my yard on 2 different occasions and killing 2 chickens each time. Most recently he has tried to get the county permit/planning dept to fine me and require the removal of my chickens. Well, I have less than the number of chickens legally permitted and they have a home that is at the legal required distance from all residential buildings. An inspector had to come by to check, and he said that almost everything looked fine, but the structure must be at least 5 feet away from the property line.

    what? Its a tiny coop/roost/hutch, approx: 4'x2'x2.5', is a structure? I'm renting and this was in the yard when I moved in (made convincing my husband to continue with our chicken plans a lot easier). The roost only has 4 sides, bottom, front, top, and one side. The back and second side are against fences. Does the fact that the roost is not easily movable make it a structure? or is someone just making stuff up so they can charge us for the investigation? (if they find us at fault, we have to pay any investigative fees. If we are within the law we are not charged.)

    Does any permanent non-living item in a yard count as a structure? Could a movable enclosed roost still be considered a structure? do I really need to have my chicken's night time roost centered in my yard? D:

    If its specific to local law, I'm located in California, un-incorporated Kern County, low-density residential R-1.

    I've been searching for hours and cant find anything remotely similar. Maybe I'm not using correct keywords? Any help would be great! Thank you. :)

  2. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    You need to check setbacks required for small sheds, etc. If you can't find it, call the zoning department and ask for the setback for very small storage sheds, dog houses, play houses, etc. And ask where in the code that information is locates in case you have any further questions. I am guessing from the size that it could be relatively easily moved (except that that might mess with the structural integrity since it is missing two contiguous sides.

    Unless it has an attached foundation (as compared with just sitting on concrete blocks, pad, etc.), electric wiring or plumbing, I cannot imagine that it is considered a permanent structure or building.

    Since you rent, the coop is owned by your landlord. I'd suggest asking him/her if you can make changes to it. And if you do need to move it, then simply add the missing sides. As for the neighbor, perhaps install a game cam pointed along the fenceline
  3. appps

    appps Crowing

    Aug 29, 2012
    If you are renting and the structure was there when you moved in then technically I don't see how they can fine you anyway. They would have to take building code violations up with your landlord.
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Exactly. It's not your structure.

    I don't know why you don't just move it the required 5 feet from property line. Problem solved. Though you would want to ask the landlord if it's alright to move it.
  5. jbenson

    jbenson Songster

    Nov 15, 2012
    5 foot setbacks are fairly common for just about everything including driveways. Also, in city planning terms, "structure" tends to refer to anything erected on the property permanent or not regardless of size. Usually there are rules governing structures of different sizes (like if you need a permit to build it or not). Sounds like whomever built the coop didn't take into account set back. I'd take it up with the landlord about if it's okay for you to move it. If you hit it that way, maybe they'll just say yes and you can keep using it. In my experience, landlords don't want to do a lot of work, so if you want him to move it, he might say no (in which case if you keep using it, you can probably get fined and then you'll have to go to housing court against your landlord) or he might just take it down. As for the neighbor's dog, if you can prove the dog got into your yard and killed a chicken, the dog can be labelled a dangerous animal (cause it killed another animal on someone else's property). Then the neighbor might have to take extreme measures to keep the dog out of your yard or might even have to give it up or pay to register it dangerous.
  6. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Every city has its own zoning; setbacks, what is/is not allowed and permitting can vary dramatically. Where I live, setbacks are 20' from rear and side property lines, 40' from the front property line. Other zones have smaller setbacks, but I don;t think any have a 5' setback. There is no setback for driveways; only buildings and structures, which have different definitions. Small, non-permanent structures such as small storage sheds, coops, etc. can be built into the setback.

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