ordinance help!!!!

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by themichigander, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. themichigander

    themichigander Out Of The Brooder

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    Portage, Michigan
    so i finished my coop a week ago and when we went into city hall the coop inspector said that one- we had to add a fence covering the run adn two- the area were we put the coop is not actuallyin the backyard. the first statement wasn't even in the rules for keeping chickens shown on the city's website and our coop is behind and attached garage which im pretty sure is behind the house so therefore it is in the backyard. this permit and ordinance stuff is so ridiculous i don't know what to do. the chicken have out grown their brooder and i need them out of the house. Help!!!!
     
  2. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Netting over the top of the run is a smart idea to keep them predator safe, and depending on the height of the run walls, may keep your chickens from flying out.

    However, sometimes cities have really bizarre definitions on what constitutes front versus back yard, setbacks, etc. Can you quote the eact language of the ordinance as relates to placement of chicken coops, as well as whatever it says about runs?
     
  3. themichigander

    themichigander Out Of The Brooder

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    Portage, Michigan
    yes here is a copy of exactly what the permit application says
    What are the requirements to keep chickens?


    [FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman][FONT=Times New Roman,Times New Roman]A city resident occupying a single family home may obtain a permit to keep chickens subject to the following conditions: Up to six hen chickens are permitted. Roosters are prohibited.
    Chickens are for personal use only. Commercial sales are prohibited.
    If you are a lessee or renter, written permission from the property owner is required.
    Chickens must be kept in a completely enclosed coop and attached pen in the back (rear) yard.
    The coop/pen must be setback at least 10 feet from all property lines and 30 feet from any adjacent home. If located in a lake side yard, the coop/pen must be setback at least 40-foot from the rear (lake side) property line.
    Collectively, the coop/pen cannot exceed 80 square feet in area and 6 feet in height.
    The coop/pen cannot be made from corrugated metal/fiberglass, sheet metal, plastic tarps, scrap lumber or similar materials.
    The coop/pen must be designed and maintained to provide a safe and healthy living condition.
    During daylight hours, chickens may be allowed to roam within the rear yard of the site if supervised and enclosed by at least a 4-foot high fence.
    Feed and other items must be secured from rats, mice or other rodents.
    Outdoor slaughter of chickens is prohibited.
    City ordinances pertaining to noise, odors, dust, fumes, sanitation, health or comparable nuisances must be met. [/FONT][/FONT]
     
  4. Kikiriki

    Kikiriki Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, from the ordinance, it sounds like you do have to enclose the top of the run because there is no comma between coop and run, which makes the entirely enclosed part of the rule applicable to both structural parts.

    However, it does not say "with fencing" anywhere, so you could argue that and use some other cheaper material besides tarps which are specifically excluded. However, if you can afford it, it will be to your own benefit to use fence... Cats and racoons for sure can get on a roof. But that plastic fence is definitely called fence right on the label if cant afford wire, so he would not be able to fight you on that if you elect to use it. It is not, however, predator safe.

    Is your garage back wall not as far back as the back wall of the main house? Does your house have one part that sticks out farther? These could be why he is saying it is not the backyard. Ask him to show you in the ordinace definitions where backyard is defined, then that is what you have to comply with. If it is not specifically defined, then it is a matter of his opinion and you could argue about it, but there is most likely a definition somewhere.

    So good luck! Keep us posted...I want to know how it turns out!
     
  5. themichigander

    themichigander Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2012
    Portage, Michigan
    the hous is set back 10 feet farther back than the garage so thats what their argueing. the inspector is trying to get a variance for us so we can kepp them i should find out sometime today or by tuesday ill tellya what happens
     
  6. wingless

    wingless Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 11, 2011
    Ann Arbor, MI
  7. themichigander

    themichigander Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2012
    Portage, Michigan
    but it specifically says in our city ordinance that chickens are for personal use only, commercial sales are prohibited so the right to farm act cant protect my right now
     
  8. wingless

    wingless Chillin' With My Peeps

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    michigander, my understanding is that in Michigan city ordinances do not - can not - be applied to anyone who claims protection under the Michigan Right to Farm Act. To over-simplify, MRTFA trumps city ordinances.

    To be eligible for MRTFA protection you need to do 3 quite easy things:

    1. be a farming operation (have chickens)

    2. be commercial (sell a few eggs, chicks, feathers, compost, etc.)

    3. follow good management practices (GAAMPS, which are reasonable and are things you may already do)


    The MRTFA thread that I gave you the link to is full of information and opinions. I have been trying to accumulate published opinions from reputable sources to help convince individuals (like you) and city officials (everywhere) that this is not wishful thinking on the part of backyard chicken farmers, but is actually the law. I think the very best document in that regard is this one, written by a professor at MSU and another from Michigan State Extension. For others, look at postings over the last couple of months or so on the MRTFA thread. Here it is:

    http://www.animalagteam.msu.edu/uploads/files/20/Tech%20Bullitin%20Land%20Use.pdf

    Best of luck.
     
  9. themichigander

    themichigander Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2012
    Portage, Michigan
    i was told by a friend that since are town is not in a farm zoned area we do not apply to the right to farm act. im not so sure this is true
     
  10. wingless

    wingless Chillin' With My Peeps

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    michigander, there are certainly many opinions out there on this issue. Last summer I spent a lot of time reading the legal documents around the case and found it to be a tough read - I certainly had to keep track of legal definitions that weren't always obvious, and also had to keep track of when each document was written, because the law changed a couple of times, so what was decided at one time may no longer be relevant to current law.

    This year I have come across two summary documents written by very respectable people - professors at MSU and MSU Extension, and by the Michigan Environmental Council. The language is clear and easy to read, and I highly recommend them. I think they're important because they remove the problem of whether to believe your friend or to believe me or to believe any lay person on this complicated issue - it is the job of these people to understand the law, and this is their conclusion.

    http://www.animalagteam.msu.edu/uploads/files/20/Tech%20Bullitin%20Land%20Use.pdf

    http://www.michiganbees.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/RTFA-Beekeeping-SEMBA.pdf

    I wish you the best of luck. If you haven't been, there is also a great thread on this issue here:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...o-farm-law-what-does-it-mean/530#post_8838421
     

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