Need help to change chicken laws in PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, VA!!!

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by Mama Dukes, Jun 27, 2010.

  1. Mama Dukes

    Mama Dukes Hatching

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    Jun 27, 2010
    Right now the law in Prince William states that a person can not own chickens on any property less then 10 acres that has a primary residence on the property. So pretty much you cant have chickens at all unless you have a large farm. Recently i was forced to find new homes for my small flock (8) Black-Sex Link pullets and I am compleatly heart broken [​IMG].

    There is a glimmer of hope though....A gentleman by the name of Vic Cole has begun to work with the county zoning committee to have the laws changed to benefit the small flock owners such as myself. Tomorrow I will e attempting to contact Mr. Cole to find out how I can help with changing the laws.

    I will post my finding and hopefully we can join together to help our cause.

    Thia article better explaines what happening, PLEASE READ!

    http://www.gainesville-times.com/news/2010/may/16/chickens-are-coming-home-roost/
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2010
  2. Naw, you just need to buy a second home, or rent a second home, that is on 10 acres.

    It does say PRIMARY after all.

    There are TONS of topics in the L.O.R.E. section with tons of ideas on what info to arm yourself with, etc.

    Give it a gander...
     
  3. Danaus29

    Danaus29 Chirping

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    Mar 17, 2010
    Find how much land you need to have to have chickens in other states. In Ohio you can have them on over 1 acre if you are not in a platted subdivision. You can have them on more than 5 acres anywhere in Ohio.
     
  4. tvcole

    tvcole In the Brooder

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    Dec 9, 2009
    There's a glimmer of hope! The issue will come before the Prince William Planning Commission at their meeting at 7pm on 7 July. Anyone wanting more information please contact me at [email protected]. I will also try to post information on my BYC page ...
    Thanks for the interest!
    Vic Cole
     
  5. tvcole

    tvcole In the Brooder

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    Dec 9, 2009
    The glimmer of hope was dashed a bit at the 7 July Planning Commission (PC) meeting. The planners recommended not reducing acreage to 1, and the matter is continued until their September meeting.

    HOWEVER - according to Prince William County statutes, the PC has 90 days to make a recommendation on any proposed change to zoning ordinances, which this was - and if they don't make a recommendation in the alloted time, the record reflects that the matter is returned to the Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) recommending approval by the PC. Since the PC addressed it for the first time at their meeting on 21 April, their 90 days expired on 20 July.

    I pointed this out to the BOCS, and am awaiting their response as they consult the county attorney. I'm confident, since I based my assertion on language their own attorneys used when the question was passed to the PC in the first place.

    Exactly what this will come to, I don't know. The proposed revision as written has some problems, not the least of which is that it only allows chickens to 2 acres. But it's a start, and it appears to be better than we were going to get from the PC anyway.

    Anyone who wants to stay on this should consider joining our Yahoo Group - we post files and other good items there (wish we could do that here). The group is
    http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/princewilliamcountypoultry/
     
  6. tvcole

    tvcole In the Brooder

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    Dec 9, 2009
    My attempt to bring the question before the Prince William County Board of Supervisors failed. Rather than following the PWC code and addressing the issue as stipulated, they reinitiated the question and sent it back to the Planning Commission for another round.

    I think we have a strong case, and I'm growing weary of inaction. Can anyone recommend a good agriculture lawyer in Prince William County?

    Be aware! Prince William County prohibits most farm animals on property with a house!

    Sec. 32-300.02. Accessory uses.
    6. Farm animals (such as cows, pigs, hogs, goats, sheep, and other livestock, horses, mules and other equines, chickens and other fowl, and similar utilitarian animals) shall not be permitted as an accessory use in any residential district or on lots with a residential principal use in any agricultural district …

    For more information, visit http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/princewilliamcountypoultry/
     
  7. tvcole

    tvcole In the Brooder

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    Dec 9, 2009
    The question will be addressed again by the Prince William County Planning Commission at their meeting on 1 September 2010.
     
  8. nonseq

    nonseq Songster

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    Sep 16, 2009
    Central Ohio
    Good luck!
     
  9. tvcole

    tvcole In the Brooder

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    Dec 9, 2009
    After a long, tedious night, the Prince William County Planning Commission finally got to us after 10:30pm on September 1st. It was September 2nd when they finally recorded the last vote. After presentation of the Planning Dept. proposal, there was some discussion and some good suggestions by the Gainesville District commissioner for some simple changes to clarify things, and some questions they hoped the public would answer (within our 3 minutes each, of course!), then the public comment started. Four of us gave a PowerPoint presentation summarizing our substitute amendment – asking for generous setbacks (100 ft from neighboring dwellings) and the right to have a few chickens on as little as 1/5 acre. The presentation included a list of hard questions for the commission. Several other folks spoke in favor of backyard poultry, and how this should be an absolute right on property that is zoned agricultural. The same couple that has been there the last two meetings talking about their horrible neighbors (sounds like a very irresponsible chicken owner and a cock fighting breeder) and not wanting chickens on less than 2 acres was there again. Then the discussion started. The process is so frustrating, as only the Planning Commission discussed, and they only ask questions of the county planning department, and we the people can't say anything!

    Basically the PC totally ignored our proposal. The Brentsville commissioner listened to some of the questions asked in our presentation and asked the county planners what their timeline for revisiting this issue to possibly loosen up the limitations would be if allowed a 2 acre minimum. The planners said one year. There were some really positive comments by the Woodbridge commissioner, who has a friend on the Potomac with 6 chickens he gets eggs from sometimes, sees smaller flocks as more like pets and that big chicken farms on the eastern shore of MD cause a lot of pollution. The Dumfries commissioner (who has not been a supporter) talked about the Constitution and how that was written by agriculturists, that he could support language to not restrict in rural areas, that these are God given rights. Then he made an interesting observation that in cities there are no wells. Contamination of wells seemed to be his biggest problem. The county planners showed maps of all the 1 acre SR and A-1 lots, and another of all the A-1 and SR lots over two acres. A lot of the 1-2 acre lots were in the eastern Brentsville & Coles district. The Gainsville commissioner expressed concern that poultry was not appropriate for the "Developmental" district, and that there were still some large A-1 and SR lots in the Developmental District, whatever that is, and talked about an "overlay"? She proposed changing the chart showing maximums per acres for different poultry to using Poultry Units, and stating a maximum number of Poultry Units, which would simplify the process of combining different sizes of poultry and make it fairer as well, but that proposal didn't get passed (it failed on a 4 – 4 vote). Her proposal of changing the words "raise" and "raised" to "keep" and "kept" also made a lot of sense, and did pass.

    Then the Brentsville commissioner proposed extending rights to all A-1 and SR property over 1 acre everywhere in the county, regardless of location. This failed on a 4 – 4 vote. In the end, the chairman, motioned to approve the amendment with changes of moving the setback from 15 to 50 ft from the property line, and allowing on any property in the "Rural Area" (which means the Rural Crescent, or Rural Development Area), and on minimum 2 acre lots on A-1 and SR districts elsewhere in the county. This actually passed unanimously, at about 12:15 a.m.

    So we ended up with a little more than what the Planning Office was proposing, but didn’t get as much as we wanted, and it still doesn't help those folks on less than 2 acres outside the Rural Crescent.

    Next we go to the Board of County Supervisors – the next meeting of which is on September 14th. An agenda isn’t out yet, so we don’t know if it will come up at that meeting or the next one, September 21st, or something in October. Stay tuned!

    And when this is done, we step off into property rights …
     
  10. tvcole

    tvcole In the Brooder

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    The question goes before the Prince William Board of County Supervisors on Tuesday, September 14th. At their September 1st meeting, the PWC Planning Commission recommended allowing chickens on any amount of agricultural land in the rural crescent - but only on 2 or more acres elsewhere in the county. This is the same amount of land the county requires to have a horse, and we think this is excessive. There is recognition that "backyard chickens" is sweeping the nation, and a motion to allow chickens everywhere in the county on 1 or more acres failed on a tie vote at the Planning Commission meeting, so we are hoping that the Board of Supervisors will see their way to allow chickens on 1 or more acres, and take a step toward agricultural parity with New York City, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, Miami ... and dozens of other urban and suburban localities that have legalized pet chickens.
     

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