Prince William County, Virginia

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by tvcole, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. tvcole

    tvcole Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 9, 2009
    I'm looking for like-minded people who would like to help work to change the restrictive zoning regulations in Prince William county, Virginia. Presently you can't have chickens on less than 2 acres, and if the principal use is residential, lot size is immaterial - no chickens. Any interest?
     
  2. tvcole

    tvcole Out Of The Brooder

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    The issue in Prince William County is heating up - now have some interest from 2 county supervisors and have made some proposals. Looking for others to join the fray!
     
  3. sian

    sian Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 17, 2009
    Purcellville VA
    I live in Loudoun, but am happy to help.....I have a lot more than 2 acres, but can't imagine why you would need 2 acres to keep chickens..
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2010
  4. tvcole

    tvcole Out Of The Brooder

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    I have assembled some talking points and recommendations for changes to the Prince William County statutes that I can e-mail you. If you have any friends in PWC who are willing to write to their supervisors on this, please let them know! Also, what is the law in Loudoun County? I wasn't able to find it in Municode.com.
    My e-mail address is [email protected].
     
  5. tvcole

    tvcole Out Of The Brooder

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    Update: The chicken question will be addressed at the Prince William Country Planning Commission meeting on 21April2010. There is a planning session at 6pm in advance of the main meeting at 7pm. The chicken issue will be addressed at the planning session. The meeting will be at the Prince William County complex, in the Board of Supervisors meeting chambers. Additional information? Contact me at [email protected].
     
  6. tvcole

    tvcole Out Of The Brooder

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    Update: The with the county planning commission went fairly well. The commissioners asked that an additional column be added to the fowl matrix for land between 1 and 1.9 acres, and that the number of birds be re-evaluated for a minimum of 1 acre rather than 2. They also sought input from the soil and water commission concerning land impact and from animal control concerning the magnitude of "chicken problems." The issue was continued while more information is gathered and some revisions made, following which the head of the planning department will schedule further hearings. I'll post more information as I discover it. We had the largest contingent at last night's meeting, and the commissioner's definitely noticed. We're on the radar!

    For more information and the material we presented to the commission, e-mail me at [email protected]

    Vic Cole
     
  7. tvcole

    tvcole Out Of The Brooder

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    Update 10MAY2010. Met with a PWC Zoning Administrator today. Jeremy Frazier joined us this afternoon when we met with Mr. Nick Evers at the PWC planning office. The meeting was very cordial and productive. We had a wide-ranging discussion, which lasted a full hour. He is genuinely sympathetic and wants to make reasonable changes to the law. At the same time, he has been given direction by the planning commission to look at one acre, and in the end framed his proposal around that figure. Here is what we believe will be proposed: option 3 from our proposed alternatives, plus stipulation of 1 rooster per acre on lots over 2 acres. Free ranging of chickens won’t be permitted on lots of less than 2 acres. We also talked about setbacks – believe what will be proposed is a 15 foot setback from property lines. Some distances from dwellings were discussed, but he seemed to want to stay away from that in order to make it easier to relax lot size restrictions later. At Jeremy’s recommendation, he will likely include some stipulation about coop cleanliness and fly traps. While the proposal will include chickens down to one acre, it will not likely do so for ducks, geese, and turkeys. We had some discussion about emus, ostriches, pea fowl, etc., but putting numbers on them seemed to be a bridge too far. He understood that the desire is to allow chickens on smaller lots, but conveyed a sense of caution – this is already a big step for them, and it’s new. They are open to the change, but are cautious. He felt that the planning commission would reject a proposal that didn’t have any land restrictions, and came back to their direction that he consider 1 acre. He said that if all goes well with the new allowances, then numbers may be increased and lot sizes decreased. That all depends on public interest, responsible owners, and good ambassadors that get the word out. We’re not sure when the question will go to the planning board next, but Mr. Evers said he would send us an e-mail when he know. We will of course pass it on.
     
  8. tvcole

    tvcole Out Of The Brooder

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    Update: The efforts continue. Since our meeting with the Prince William County planners, we have had 2 favorable newspaper articles. Links to both are below:

    The most recent was written by Amanda Stewart of the News and Messenger. This ran on May 18th:

    http://www2.insidenova.com/isn/news/local/article/residents_seek_change_in_pecking_order/57640/

    The next appeared in the Gainesville Times on May 13th, and was written by Tara Slate Donaldson:

    http://digital.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODE/GainesvilleTimes/

    Both articles are very favorable!

    Always looking for more members! Anyone interested, please contact me at [email protected].
     
  9. SportChick

    SportChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 7, 2010
    Louisiana
    Ok, I'm interested. We are just starting this process in my small city. Our parish (county) commissioner is on board because he wants chickens inside city limits too. We have residents interested (about 100 on facebook and other non-facebook folks). I have a city coucilman-to-be on our side (or so he says). Our city ordinance states that we can ask for a zoning exception and then can keep chickens, but when it was tested, the first neighbor complaint (which was not about noise but about a pet that got histoplasmosis, which is endemic in this area) resulted in the city council ruling that the chickens (which had an zoning exception already) had to be removed.

    Next step?
     
  10. tvcole

    tvcole Out Of The Brooder

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    First, get your group to write letters to prime the pump and get the ear of your elected representatives. Letters to the editor are a good idea too. Call the local papers and point out that your parish is far behind a national trend. Determine the path to success - start with who can change the ordinance, and meet personally with your elected representative at that level. Rarely do they work issues that don't bubble up to them so work down the chain board to board to committee to committee. Then get information to those members - often there's a website available with contact information for the members of various committees. Often these are volunteers, so offer your help in recrafting the ordinance. Get a copy of the current ordinance and mark it up - show how it's out of step with what's happening all around you and nationwide, and get it to all the decisionmakers you can. Make friends with the zoning and planning folks. I've found that in Prince William County these are good people and want to help. Pointing out inconsistencies and helping to straighten them out is always helpful. When meetings are held, be there, and encourage your contacts to do the same. Keep up the contact - one letter isn't enough - one a week is too much - one a month or so might be good. You want them to get the message that your group is dedicated and you're not going to go away. Then stay dedicated. Look for openings and press advantages. Be aware of opposition and be prepared to allay their fears. I've found a lot of folklore - stick with facts. Hens aren't noisey, but roosters are. Be polite, be courteous, be helpful. Network with others in the same position. Good luck!
     

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