Overcoming a Deed Restriction with a Variance Request

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by TxFarmerDan, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. TxFarmerDan

    TxFarmerDan New Egg

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    Aug 10, 2013
    I'm new to the forums but have already found a wealth of information here. My wife and I are finally moving from the city to a place just outside Austin with a bit more land (about 3 acres). The village we are moving to does allow up to 10 chickens but our property, which was recently annexed has previous deed restrictions prohibiting fowl.

    My thought was to request a variance from the nearby land owners, as thats the process called out in the deed restriction. I've read some other posts but would be open to any advice from others who have been successful as well as any sample letters or wording I can use to further my cause.

    Here is the exact wording of the deed restriction:

    "No animals or poultry shall be kept or maintained upon any building site with the exception of pets (dogs, cats, etc.) in small numbers"

    "The foregoing paragraph should not preclude the keeping as pets or animals other than the above mentioned , provided such are ordinarily kept as pets in a residential subdivision,and provided they are not kept or bred for any commercial purpose"

    My initial thought was to send a letter laying out that we'd like to have about 6 chickens. The current village ordinance is 10 but, since this is a deed restriction requiring neighbor approval, we thought we'd make our request lower, given that we do only want to use this for personal production.

    We also were going to include a picture of the coop we plan on purchasing and show the location of where it will go on our property. I'd love to have some additional facts and figures to share with them in hopes of making their decision easier and thank the group in advance for any suggestions they have.
     
  2. My Pretties

    My Pretties Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 22, 2013
    You might check the website chickenrevolution.com That is a "How-To" site that was offered to me on my thread where we are trying to change an ordinance. After we get the ordinance changed that lots smaller than 1 acre can have chickens, everyone will have to get their HOAs to amend their bylaws, but it can be done. I don't understand the difference of a variance from an ordinance. Is it because of who wrote it? If it is an HOA, you still have to have it allowed by the city you live in as that trumps the HOA....I'm finding this all out AFTER I purchased my flock which were removed due to my violation. So many people have chickens around me (unseen and unaware of by most) that it never occurred to me I couldn't.
     
  3. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    First, drive through the area that has the deed restrictions and see if there are other properties with poultry or other livestock-type animals. Next, check to see if the deed restrictions have an expiration date, and when that is, third, if you still need a variance, then initially go with the limit imposed by the town (say you are requesting a variance to allow up to ten); it gives you wiggle room should there be objection. I'd save the picture and location of the coop for backup rather than initial presentation, unless that is part of the required variance process.
     
  4. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    A variance is official permission to VARY from the normal restriction, beit a building setback, an allowed use, etc.

    HOAs can be more restrictive than a city's ordinance/zoning, unless the ordinance or zoning provides a RIGHT. If the city limits the number of chickens to 10, an HOA could further restrict it to none. If the city guarantees the RIGHT to have up to 10 chickens (that would be very unusual), then the HOA could not further restrict it. RIGHTS are typically about things like flying a flag or discrimination.
     
  5. TxFarmerDan

    TxFarmerDan New Egg

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    Aug 10, 2013
    In my case we live in a Village that has some basic ordinances about chickens but allow up to 10. Our land though, as part of its sale to the people we bought it from and passed on to us has deed restrictions about having no fowl. There is no formal HOA just a collection of land owners keeping the peace on basic issues. Other variances have been granted to the previous owners on a number of issues and if they don't respond in 30 days your request gets automatically approved. They are just going to be my new neighbors and I want to keep things friendly across the board.
     
  6. My Pretties

    My Pretties Out Of The Brooder

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    Good luck with getting the variance. Sounds like an easier process than changing first a city ordinance and THEN HOA bylaws. Having chickens was more fun than having dogs, and I'm a big time dog lover. Once you get your variance, think of having a Frizzle in your flock. [​IMG]. They are wonderful birds with personality. Mine was Queen of the Roost, very unusual looking too.
     

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