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Resuming the fight- any ideas?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by UrbanChickenWarrior, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. UrbanChickenWarrior

    UrbanChickenWarrior Hatching

    Apr 15, 2008
    Lowell, MI
    Hi, my name is Lori and I'm a chicken addict. It's been about 1 1-2 years since my last post.

    Back then, I was fighting the stupid local planning commission to keep my huge flock of 4 menacing backyard chicks on 4/10 acre of land in downtown Lowell.

    I lost.

    The GR Press reporter called us the day after they made the decision to evict (oh, they neglected to let us know they were meeting-the first business day after New Years). They gave us 30 days notice. Several months later, they had revamped the local ordinance (again, without our input or inclusion) to specifically ban fowl, rabbits and all other similar small animals on properties less than 1/2 acre. Over 1/2 acre, you can have 3 or 4 I think. No real reason given, except that "Farm animals don't belong in the city". And lack of community support for our cause.

    Heading into our 2nd gardening season without our chicks, we are still missing them, but ready to take up the fight again. My hubby and I think it may be easier to campaign for public awareness on the benefits of keeping a small backyard flock now that oil prices are high, food prices are high, environmental awareness is a teensy bit higher and our Mayor has changed. Also, we are not personally 'involved' in being in violation of the ordinance. It may take a few years, but I'm hoping maybe we can make some changes for the good. Laying hens CAN belong in a city, and make the city better!

    I'd love some feedback on some strategies, ideas on ways we can go about raising our towns awareness about backyard poultry keeping, or success stories about how others have done it.

    Last edited: Apr 15, 2008
  2. mango1612

    mango1612 In the Brooder

    Feb 9, 2008
    Raleigh, NC
    There are a lot of cities that do let you have some hens...Someone had a link to a list of the cities. Does anyone know of places that have overturned things like this--maybe that's a good place to start?

    I know I live in Raleigh, and Apex at one point wanted to ban ALL farm animals from the city after a animal-hoarding incident. They ended up changing their policy after some people got upset and made some exceptions for #s and types of farm animals.

    Good luck!
  3. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    Section 4.19. Keeping of pets and other animals.
    A. No more than three (3) adult dogs or cats in combination shall be kept or housed in one (1) residential unit in any residential district.
    B. One (1) horse may be kept on a lot of not less than one and one-half (1 1/2) acres, providing the structure containing such use is located not less than one hundred (100) feet from all adjoining residential district lot lines or residential use. An additional horse may be permitted for each one-half ( 1/2) acre over one and one-half (1 1/2) acres.
    C. Fowl, rabbits, or similar animals may be raised or kept for the owner's use on a lot of not less than one-half ( 1/2) acre, provided the structure containing such animals shall be located not less than fifty (50) feet from all adjoining residential district lot lines or uses.
    (Ord. No. 95-06, § 1, 12-27-95)

    Wow, I'd like to see how they enforce that dog/cat ordinance [​IMG] That seems awful low to be reasonable for most dog/cat lovers. I wonder how many people in Lowell are allready in violation [​IMG]

    I wish I could be of more help. I have to go today to look into our town's ordinances myself.

    I know there have been some threads started that offer some information and ideas about how others have fought the good fight. Here's one thread...... https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=38246

    us know how it goes.
  4. UrbanChickenWarrior

    UrbanChickenWarrior Hatching

    Apr 15, 2008
    Lowell, MI
    I actually submitted several pages of cities in MI and around the country, and included variations of ordinance wording, excluding roosters, including a license fee, etc etc, to help them out. I don't think they even looked at it. [​IMG]

    The really crappy thing is that the majority of city council was in favor of it, but the planning commissioners were the ones against it and were completely ignorant and unreasonable in their 'explanations' and their logic ("make sure to specifically exclude hamsters in the ordinance" "can we rule on keeping chickens IN the house?")

    Unfortunately, I think Lowell is in the midst of rural/urban angst. The people who 'run' things grew up on the farm, then moved to the big city to get away from it. They don't realize that 3 or 4 chickens do not a farm make.

    BTW, did I mention I own a 115yr old historic victorian on one city lot, have our organic garden on the other city lot we own adjacent, in an R3 zone (multiple family dwelling) a registered flood zone with Light Industrial next door, and downtown Main Street 1 block North? This isn't the 'burbs'. [​IMG]

    I've already have pages and pages of research, what I'd love is ideas on how to raise public awareness? I think hubby vetoed the dressing up as chickens for the summer/xmas parades and handing out flyers about urban chicken keeping [​IMG]

    but we do have a farmers market, a Thursdays music on the river night, the youth fair in August, etc. (oh, and I could use a little love, it's been a tough coupla years.
    ~fight the power!
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2008
  5. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Here's lots of hugs to let you know that I really feel your total frustration...[​IMG] ...[​IMG]

    I think your best bet at this point, to raise awareness, is to make up flyers and talk to lots of people. Obviously try to find as many like minded people as possible to help your side.

    Also, Madison, Wisconsin is a large city that encourages people to have chickens in their little backyards. Go to madcitychickens.com and see if anything there helps you.

    Also, here's a link to a thread here that talks about Madison:


    I will be praying that you can get things changed in your city. Having two, three or four hens is such a positive thing with multiple benefits that it's a shame the people in charge are so ignorant.

    Good luck.
  6. Guitartists

    Guitartists Resistance is futile

    Mar 21, 2008
    Possibly host some kind of pet chicken show, for the small flock keeper. Invite the public out to see how wonderful the little birds can be [​IMG] Show that they are more than a farm animal.

    You can make t-shirts, buttons, magnets, bumper stickers and more for free here....


    If you need help with graphics, just let me know. I may find myself in the same boat before long.
  7. poltroon

    poltroon Songster

    Feb 28, 2008
    California (North Coast)
    Have you read Michael Pollan's books? He has galvanized a whole cadre of people towards thinking more about where their food is coming from and that kind of thought, combined with rising food and fuel prices, is driving a lot of people into gardening and chickens.

    You might try connecting with a group like www.recipeforamerica.org, which is very interested in promoting more 'slow food' type activity. There are a lot of politically astute people there who may be of help in recruiting the casual citizenry.
  8. UrbanChickenWarrior

    UrbanChickenWarrior Hatching

    Apr 15, 2008
    Lowell, MI
    How funny that you are the 2nd person who referred Michael Pollan's book to me today! and for 2 completely separate reasons.

    I really liked the link that was posted earlier in the post to the woman who fought and won the chick ordinance in so. portland...I think I may use a similar tactic.

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