Please help, we are illegal in Nebraska!!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by urbanfarmers, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. urbanfarmers

    urbanfarmers In the Brooder

    Jun 23, 2010
    Bellevue, Nebraska
    Several of us looked from here to Heaven for chicken laws and couldn't find a single thing. Last night there was a piece on the news about chickens and the city wanting us to get rid of our chickens! [​IMG]

    I made several calls today and finally ended up talking to someone in planning. She gave me the info I needed to find the 'chicken laws' and this is where I finally found it....they didn't make it easy to find! [​IMG]

    Here is what it says....

    PURPOSE: This zone is designed to preserve lands best suited for agricultural use from
    encroachment of incompatible uses, and to preserve in agricultural use, land suited to eventual
    development in other uses pending proper timing for practical and economical provision of utilities,
    major streets, schools and other facilities so that reasonably compact development will occur and
    the fiscal integrity of the city preserved. A change of zoning from AG to any other classification
    shall be in accordance with planning practices established by the Commission.

    – 2111. Agriculture including the raising of field crops horticulture, animal husbandry
    subject to rules and regulations of the Board of Health, including feed lots, poultry
    farms and kennels. Provided, however, that commercial feed lots shall be allowed
    by special permit only. Expansion of the area of any existing feed lot shall be
    allowed by special permit only. In no instance shall commercial feed lots be
    established within one half mile of a designated residential district.
    – 2112. Ranch and farm dwellings pertaining to agricultural operations.

    Here is what I say....We are NOT a commercial feed lot, we are everyday people trying to cut costs and live a healthier lifestyle by growing and raising our own food!!! [​IMG]

    Can anyone tell me where I go from here? I know I need to compile a list of pros and cons (and have a rebuttal for the cons) to having chickens in city limits but that's not going to be enough. Please, someone help us Nebraskans!!!!! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2010

  2. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Well, first, you need to determine which zone your home is in, 2nd, if you read the article, it says that "it was unlikely the chickens would actually be removed within 30 days because the current city council will soon explore an Urban Chicken Farming ordinance".

    Zoning should be one of the FIRST places anyone looks for what activities are allowed on a property. Unfortunately, many people do not realize this.

    If you read further, all single family and duplex residential zones have this under PRINCIPAL PERMITTED USES:
    Crop and tree farming but not including the raising of animals or fowl for
    commercial purposes, or the sale of any products at retail on the premises, except
    as provided for as a permitted home occupation.

    However, they ALL go on to limit household pets to a total of three (animals under 6 months are not included). So, if your birds are not for commercial use, it looks like they are permitted. If you call them pets, you are limited to 3 (and cannot have any other pets). So, you cannot sell eggs, you cannot raise and sell meat. You can raise eggs and meat for your family. Of course, this is my opinion based upon the zoning document.

    What part of Bellevue do you live in? The old part of town? West of Hwy 75? (I lived and owned a home there in the late '70s, and was back there a number of times through the 80's and 90's.)

    As far as the people mentioned in the article who were cited, if they were given permission by a previous council and grandfathered in (although my understanding of grandfathering in Bellevue--based upon a conversation with a realtor when I purchased my house in 1978--is that it does not survive transfer of the property to a new owner) there will be a paper trail that they can use to fight the citation.​
  3. Danaus29

    Danaus29 Chirping

    Mar 17, 2010
    Our zoning officials say even one bird constitutes agriculture even though the actual wording makes it sound like you have to be selling as well as producing a poultry product. Well, female birds lay eggs so even 1 female bird is agriculture. So from the perspective of our zoning officers, 1 bird would be considered a poultry farm.

    Get this, I am zoned rural and I still am not permitted to have any livestock or poultry!
  4. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Well, fish and tortoises lay eggs, so I guess if you have either of them you are a fishery or a "tortoisery." [​IMG]
  5. jaj121159

    jaj121159 Songster

    May 27, 2010
    Northeast Nebraska
    Did someone officially tell you to get rid of the chickens? Was it the Zoning Administrator, not all the planners in the planning department are the Zoning Administrator (ZA). If it was the zoning administrator you can file an appeal of the ZA's decision with the Board of Adjustment. Under Nebraska State Statutes.

    Here is the statute for First Class cities.
    19-910. Board of adjustment; powers; jurisdiction on appeal; variance; when permitted.
    (1) The board of adjustment shall, subject to such appropriate conditions and safeguards as may be established by the legislative body, have only the following powers: (a) To hear and decide appeals when it is alleged there is error in any order, requirement, decision, or determination made by an administrative official or agency based on or made in the enforcement of any zoning regulation or any regulation relating to the location or soundness of structures, except that the authority to hear and decide appeals shall not apply to decisions made under subsection (3) of section 19-929; (b) to hear and decide, in accordance with the provisions of any zoning regulation, requests for interpretation of any map; and (c) when by reason of exceptional narrowness, shallowness, or shape of a specific piece of property at the time of the enactment of the zoning regulations, or by reason of exceptional topographic conditions or other extraordinary and exceptional situation or condition of such piece of property, the strict application of any enacted regulation under this section and sections 19-901, 19-903 to 19-904.01, and 19-908 would result in peculiar and exceptional practical difficulties to or exceptional and undue hardships upon the owner of such property, to authorize, upon an appeal relating to the property, a variance from such strict application so as to relieve such difficulties or hardship, if such relief may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and without substantially impairing the intent and purpose of any ordinance or resolution.

    To win at the Board of Adjustment you have to present evidence that will convince the Board of Adjustment (you need four of five votes to win as a super majority is required). In this case you need to proove to them chickens are farm animals. Good luck.

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