New BYC Member from Seattle! Ideas on legal resources for keeping chickens???

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by TurboPaved, Nov 26, 2016.

  1. TurboPaved

    TurboPaved New Egg

    Nov 26, 2016
    Hi BYC members! I'm a Seattlite new to the poulterer scene. Wife and I adopted seven hens earlier this year, and we couldn't be happier with our decision. I've visited BYC a number of times, finally decided to join the community.

    We have one of each: Gold Sex Link, Cuckoo Maran, Blue Silkie, Easter Egger, and a Delaware, as well as two other chickens we adopted from someone else who couldn't hang on to them any longer. Our friends and their kids enjoy coming over to see the chickens and leave with a dozen fresh eggs. We look forward to many fun years with our feathered pets.

    However, we now find ourselves embroiled in a bit of a tiff with our HOA. We moved into a new townhouse complex that was built only last year in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of Seattle. The complex and the HOA therein is a sign of said gentrification. We keep our chickens on our rooftop. We just found out that one of our townhouse complex neighbors filed a complaint with the city about our chickens for the sole reason (verbatim) that he "doesn't think chickens belong in this kind of townhouse complex."

    I reviewed the laws, and I'm confident that we're abiding by all of the laws and codes in the city, county, and state. As for the HOA bylaws, the builder said that he made the bylaws very flexible and unrestricted as possible. However, this neighbor said that if the city doesn't agree with him that chickens are against code--which they're not--then he wants to get the HOA to create a new bylaw outlawing chickens on the premise.

    It's not about noise or about attracting raccoons, neither of which is a problem because they're on the rooftop, and neither of which was ever brought up by this neighbor in the email and verbal communications we had. He just truly believes that chickens shouldn't be allowed in this type of community. One of his arguments was "well, what if everyone in the HOA started raising chickens?!" Guess what my answer was... ;)

    I know that this is a long shot, but has anyone else experienced this kind of situation where one neighbor in a townhouse HOA is trying to create new HOA rules to outlaw chickens, even though they're being lawfully kept on the roof and away from other units' properties?

    Does anyone on BYC have suggestions, ideas, or resources I can review to push back?

    The chickens are a mainstay of our family, and we don't like being pushed around by uppity busybodies just because of our legal choice of pets.

    Thanks, and excited to learning from your experiences in raising chickens!
  2. BlueBaby

    BlueBaby Overrun With Chickens

    Hello, and welcome to BYC! I'm not in your area, so I have no idea how you would handle that. I do know that I would never live in someplace that had to follow HOA rules. I have a couple of friends that live in an HOA area, and some of those rules are really ridiculous!
    1 person likes this.
  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    I think it would be a good idea to post on your state thread. That way some folks may rally round you in support of chickens. Also they may know ins & outs of the restrictions.

    Just put "Washington" in the searchbox and it will pop up.
    1 person likes this.
  4. N F C

    N F C phooey! Premium Member Project Manager

    Dec 12, 2013

    If it wasn't against the HOA rules when you got the chickens and the rules are changed, maybe your birds could be grandfathered in? From what I've read over time here on BYC, your HOA rules will probably trump local city codes and you will have to abide by them.

    There's an article in the Learning Center that may be helpful, be sure to check out the links within the article too:

    There's also this forum you can try posting on:

    Good luck to you!
    1 person likes this.
  5. TurboPaved

    TurboPaved New Egg

    Nov 26, 2016
    Thank you! I followed your advice and posted in the Washington thread. Hopefully I can get some support there.
  6. TurboPaved

    TurboPaved New Egg

    Nov 26, 2016
    Thanks N F C! I'm reviewing that information now. The HOA may try to impose new bylaws because one person doesn't like my chickens. I wonder how the HOA will deal with the potential press putting an eye on this situation, primarily because this will be a prime example of the tech gentrification changing the neighborhood. Gentrification stories attract attention here because it's so pervasive.
  7. TurboPaved

    TurboPaved New Egg

    Nov 26, 2016
    BlueBaby - agreed. Generally speaking, we're against moving into places with strict HOAs, as well. However, we talked to the builder before moving in, and we were assured that he wrote the bylaws to be very flexible, in a live-and-let-live fashion. It wasn't until the HOA was actually established that some of the residents started imposing their will on the rest of the 13 unit community, turning the HOA into something we would stay away from.
  8. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

    Jun 15, 2012
    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us! :)
  9. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Hello and :welcome! Pleased you joined our community! :)
  10. CuzChickens

    CuzChickens CountryChick

    Apr 24, 2016
    Hello there, and welcome to Backyard Chickens! I am so glad you joined us, I do hope you will make yourself at home here. Enjoy BYC!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by