Need help? in Lehigh Acres, FL (unincorporated Lee County, Florida)

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by PeepCrazee, Jun 2, 2011.

  1. PeepCrazee

    PeepCrazee Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 24, 2011
    I investigated to the best of my ability all the county ordinances concerning having backyard chickens. The laws are a bit hazy in the essisence that one states no and the other can easily be interpreted as yes, go ahead. We have only two immediate neighbors, of which both were okay with us building our coop and having our "girls". We have now received a "code violation" for having chickens on our property. Our "girls" are not noisy or smelly and they never leave are yard. Our neighbors enjoy coming over and watching them. This is my situation:
    This is the "code" they said we violated:

    Sec. 34-1291. - Applicability of division.
    The keeping, raising or breeding of horses and other livestock, including poultry of all kinds usually and customarily considered as farm animals, and the keeping, raising or breeding of reptiles, marine life or animals not indigenous to the state, may be permitted only as set forth in this division. This will not be interpreted as applying to pet stores or hobbyists keeping aquariums or domestic tropical birds in their own homes.


    This is another "code" 09-20 for the Lee County Animal Control Dist definition(s):

    DOMESTIC ANIMAL: Any animal kept for enjoyment and/or companionship rather than
    utility; an animal of a species that has been bred and raised to live in or about the
    habitation of humans and is dependent upon people for food, shelter and survival.

    LIVESTOCK: As defined in ยง828.23, F.S., as may be amended, means all animals of
    the bovine, equine, or swine class and also includes goats, sheep, mules, horses, hogs,
    and domesticated poultry, or any other animal used in and for utility or preparation of
    meat or meat products.

    How is it that one ordinance says one thing and the other has definitions that can be easily be interpreted any way?

    I am very sad. We have raised these babies since chicks. Our daughter is very attached to them. She was having problems with social skills and speech delays. But since we got the chickens, they have become her pets (her babies) and she is improving greatly! If we have to get rid of them, I am afraid of the reprocussions this will have on her health plus the fact, we have grown the love them! Can anyone help us? Should we contact a lawyer? We dont have a lot of money, but I dont want to lose these precious members of our family.
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. ohiogardener2011

    ohiogardener2011 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 24, 2011
    Sec. 34-1291. - Applicability of division.
    The keeping, raising or breeding of horses and other livestock, including poultry of all kinds usually and customarily considered as farm animals, and the keeping, raising or breeding of reptiles, marine life or animals not indigenous to the state, may be permitted only as set forth in this division. This will not be interpreted as applying to pet stores or hobbyists keeping aquariums or domestic tropical birds in their own homes.


    You only posted a portion of the division. Where is the rest of it? The part you posted says that poultry can be permitted "only as set forth in this division" but you didn't post the rest of it. Please include more information.
     
  3. ohiogardener2011

    ohiogardener2011 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 24, 2011
    And the second and third paragraphs you posted are not codes/laws at all but are just definitions. Please post the entire ordinance or provide a link to a web site with the ordinance(s). I looked online and the Lehigh web site didn't seem to have its laws posted.
     
  4. PeepCrazee

    PeepCrazee Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 24, 2011
    Sorry. You're right, Here is the link for the municode

    http://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientId=12625&stateId=9&stateName=Florida

    And here is the animal control ordinance link

    http://www.leelostpets.com/Documents/animal control ordinance 9 -20.pdf

    I hope you get these, cause I'm not very good at this computer stuff.

    I really don't know what to do about getting these ordinances changed so we can have chickens in the near future. If anyone can offer any advice, I would totally appreciate it.

    [​IMG] Thanks from PeepCrazee in Lehigh Acres, FL
     
  5. ohiogardener2011

    ohiogardener2011 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 24, 2011
    Chickens are permitted in Lehigh, but only in the agricultural district. Here's what the complete ordinance says:

    Sec. 34-1291. - Applicability of division.

    The keeping, raising or breeding of horses and other livestock, including poultry of all kinds usually and customarily considered as farm animals, and the keeping, raising or breeding of reptiles, marine life or animals not indigenous to the state, may be permitted only as set forth in this division. This will not be interpreted as applying to pet stores or hobbyists keeping aquariums or domestic tropical birds in their own homes.

    Except as provided in section 34-1296(b), the keeping, raising and breeding of chickens or other poultry is permitted in any AG district provided that no coop or other structure for housing chickens or poultry is located closer than 100 feet to any dwelling unit under separate ownership unless the property on which the dwelling unit is located is being used for bona fide agricultural purposes.


    -----


    So basically you can have chickens in the agricultural district. I presume you live outside of it? If I were you, I'd petition the local governing body to ammend the law to allow a limited number of chickens in a residential district or to grant you some sort of exemption. If you do so in a polite, concise and logical manner, you may have some luck.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. gbeauvin

    gbeauvin Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2010
    It looks like the code people are dealing with 3+ chicken violations a week... if you go to their site (http://www3.leegov.com/dcd3/Reports/CurrentMonthViolations.htm) you can see what all the violations are, maybe you could get together with all the other chicken people and try to change the laws together? 20 people showing up at a zoning board meeting might be more effective that one.

    -GB (who is thoroughly disappointed by how much these anonymous tipsters seem to be in everybody's business... ratting out your neightbor because they fixed their leaky roof, and didn't get a permit? yegads...)
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. PeepCrazee

    PeepCrazee Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 24, 2011
    Thank you for your tips. I will petition our local Board of Commissioners for a change in the law. I did actually meet the Code Enforcement Officer today, as he came by to take pix of our coop. He was a really nice guy and said he really did not have a problem with us having chickens, but because someone made an anonymous phone call, he had to follow up on it. And you are right, the law does say that we cannot have chickens in a residential area (only agricultural). The funny thing is that our neighborhood is mostly undeveloped. There are only 3 houses immediately near us (near our block). One of the houses is empty and the other two, we know our neighbors. So, someone must've either saw our chickens as they walked or drove by and decided to stir up trouble. UGH:tongue

    I am hoping to reach out to all the chicken fans in Lee County Florida.....IF WE WANT TO CHANGE THIS LAW...WE NEED TO BOMBARD THE OFFICE(S) OF OUR COMMISSIONER(S) AND LET THEM KNOW THAT THERE ARE LOTS OF US HERE THAT WANT TO HAVE THE RIGHT TO HAVE CHICKENS IN OUR OWN BACKYARDS!!
    Here is the link to Board of Commissioners to find out which commissioner is for your district.

    http://www.lee-county.com/gov/bocc/Pages/default.aspx

    Ours in Lehigh, FL is District #5 Frank Mann.

    He needs to hear from as many homeowners, tax payers, chicken people and especially [registered voters] as possible, if we are to be effective.[​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. ChooksinChoppers

    ChooksinChoppers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2011
    Ocala, Florida.
    Quote:Probally all 3 of those violations were for US! Oy! what a headache! actually I ready do have a headache and woke up at 4.30am and couldnt get back to sleep [​IMG] Howdy Lehigh Neighbor [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2011
  9. ChooksinChoppers

    ChooksinChoppers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2011
    Ocala, Florida.
    Peep crazee Can we get together on this? I will send you a PM with my phone number. The forum will have a message at the top of the page that shows you have a msg.

    We had the most awful day yesterday! We got a varience for my daughters 3 silkies after the first complaint as she also has health problems and initially they said the coop was ok..Then they come back the next day and say no you have to get a permit. [​IMG]

    Finally find an engineer who will draw up a sketch for me so we can get the permit and we were adding extra stuff to the roof as per his instructions...code enforcment rolls up again and puts up a stop work order! Then this woman asks if we got anymore silkies as she was told that we had...I truthfully told her we did NOT have more silkies.

    She called back yesterday and said we had lied to her and more silkies in the woods behind our coop...I said "they are not silkies!" 3 little bantam babies.. a frizzle, cochin and a sizzle. too little yet to put in the coop. Yeah we hid them.... [​IMG] we already had them when she came the first time and I was terrified she would make us get rid of them..DD would have had another breakdown. Now they have revoked our varience. we have until next friday. [​IMG] What if I moved the whole lot coop and all into the garage?? could they do anything?
     
  10. ChooksinChoppers

    ChooksinChoppers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2011
    Ocala, Florida.
    Quote:The RATEE lives right next door to me! I was reading that report last week and he doest even remain anon..his lanai faces our back yard and sits out there all day watching TV and spying on us! he even told code enforcement how many times a day we attend to the chickens and how long we stay out there! I would SO love to.................[​IMG] his butt over this.
     

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