The Great Chicken Chase...

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by urbanfarmers, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. urbanfarmers

    urbanfarmers Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 23, 2010
    Bellevue, Nebraska
    Things are getting pretty ugly here in Nebraska when it comes to the 'Great Chicken Chase.' Family after family is being cited for having backyard chickens. Wednesday 1 Bellevue family got cited and then the news did a piece about the citation, then several families after that were cited. Friday they came knocking on our door and we not only got cited for having chickens but for a '67 Cougar, 2 tires and a blow-up pool in our driveway and then the news aired a piece about our chickens. Code enforcement told me, to my face, and I quote, "You have 30 days to remove the chickens from your property or we will come and forceably remove them ourselves! Have a good day!" After that comment and then finding out I was cited for a baby pool I freaked out on the guy and kicked him off our property and then he attempted to enter my GATED backyard!!! Needless to say things got pretty verbal and the fight is really on now!
    The chicken lovers in Bellevue, Nebraska are coming together and planning a meeting to gather information to fight city council. The good thing is my husband and I met an attorney, by chance, who has offered to represent the families in Bellevue, FOR FREE, who are trying to fight city council. So far things are looking ok but I'm still worried code enforcement will show up at my front door again when I'm home alone with the kids. We have posted 6 'No Trespassing' signs around our property and on our coop but is there something more I should do to protect our rights, our family and our property???
     
  2. jaj121159

    jaj121159 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 27, 2010
    Northeast Nebraska
    The only thing the city council can do is to change the ordinance which is good, but I would recommend all of the families told remove their chickens to file with the Board of the Adjustment. The Board of Adjustment is the legal street of appeal of the zoning enforcement done here. Fill the room with people appealing their citations. Most Boards of Adjustment are considered the "Board of Yes." So you do have a fighting chance. I am a Nebraska Planner and a Zoning Administrator so i know what I am talking about.
     
  3. Wolfwoman

    Wolfwoman Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2010
    Chickaloon, Alaska
    It's ok to try and fight city council to change the laws, but doing that BEFORE breaking those laws might have been better. In everyone's eye you are already a criminal (albeit a minor one) and this probably lessens your chances. I, personally, will never understand people getting animals of any sort in a place where they're not supposed to, and then complaining when they get fined/ticketed/cited.

    What were the other charges about?? A car, tires and a pool?
     
  4. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    OK, there is already a thread about the Bellevue case; read my comments there. As for the pool, depending on size, code probably requires it to be behind a fence to prevent access. This is a responsible code to prevent accidental drownings. A pool is considedred an attractive nuisance; if at all accessible, you could be held responsible for the drowning death or permanent severe disability from a near-drowning. NOT a good thing for you.

    Don't know about the car and tires--can we assume that the car is on blocks or is obviously inoperable? Lots of cities have rules about inoperable cars.

    For the chickens:
    Padlock the gates. Padlock the coop. Make accessing them difficult and deliberate. Or consider temporarily relocating the chickens.
     
  5. PineappleMama

    PineappleMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Agree with Wolf. Even if they do change the rules you guys could still be held accountable for breaking the law BEFORE the law was changed. Fine or whatnot. I loathe our city's codes, particularly the Code Rangers... citizens trained to rat out their neighbors (can you say gestapo?) but until we can move we have to deal with the rules or deal with the consequences. Good luck in getting them dismissed.

    As to Mr Cranky Pants... trespassing signs are posted... and per his own words they won't be back to remove them for 30 days. If you find some person wandering your property before that 30 day mark then they're a trespasser and you should call the police. For your safety it's the smart thing to do. Also agree with the notes about padlocks, just in case.
     
  6. urbanfarmers

    urbanfarmers Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 23, 2010
    Bellevue, Nebraska
    Wolfwoman there is no ordinance, no code, no nothing about owning chickens/poultry/fowl in residential areas that's why everyone that has them has them. City Council, themselves, has said that there is no code but now that they are aware of people having chickens they want to have something on the books to make sure things are kept under control. So we haven't broken any laws. You can't break a law if there isn't one!

    As for the tires. Well my husband had just changed his tires and then had to go to work and that's why they were sitting next to our trash can, so they could be gotten rid of.

    The car. It is operable and we were cited for no visible VIN. It is a 1967 and visible VINs were not required until 1970!

    The pool, get this...it is a baby pool. Code states: 9 feet in diameter and more than 18 inches deep. Our pool has 10 1/8 inches of water in it and it's full! It is a simple pool that you blow up for your toddlers to play in. And I measured it in FRONT OF THE NEWS CREW!!!!

    This yahoo cited me for all of these things because I told him flat out that I personally spoke to planning and there is no code/ordinance on the books in regards to having chickens and if i'm going to be cited for something he needs to now his job and the law before he starts giving them out. He got mad and started walking around my property trying to find things to be picky about. Those were the only things he could find!

    Thanks for letting me know about the Board of Adjustments. I will contact others and let them know what we need to do. I feel like I'm expected to be an attorney before I do anything just so I know every single step, no matter how big or small, I need take before I do anything.
     
  7. TyrannosaurusChix

    TyrannosaurusChix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 13, 2010
    Savannah, NY
    from the news in bellevue:




    "City code prevents livestock from being kept on property deemed residential"





    Bellevue City Councilwoman Carol Blood hopes a compromise is in the works.

    For the past two months, she has been working on an Urban Chicken Farming ordinance, which would permit chickens on residential properties if guidelines were followed.

    "We would restrict how many chickens are allowed. We look at pens and yard sizes," says Blood.

    The ordinance should come before the council in early August. A public hearing would be held a couple weeks later.

    Both Blood and code enforcement officials say the 30–day timeframe laid out in citations issued this week likely will not be enforced as the ordinance process plays out.
     
  8. jaj121159

    jaj121159 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 27, 2010
    Northeast Nebraska
    Quote:Unless you get a really cranky judge, they are not going to fine you if you go to court after chickens are legal. Matter of fact the City Attorney probably won't pursue it. BTW, unless charging you with a nuisance, they can't remove your chickens. First class cities in Nebraska have only the powers to remove a nuisance, not physically correct a zoning violation. If your chickens are considered a nuisance, it opens up an entire new realm including a public hearing before the city council.
     
  9. LittleMamaBigPapa

    LittleMamaBigPapa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2009
    Bellevue, Nebraska
    Quote:Urbanfarmer already responded, but I wanted to also reiterate, THERE IS NO LAW!!! SO we arent "THOSE" people who are breaking the law and then complaining about a getting in trouble for doing so. But thank you for your opinion on that.
     
  10. LittleMamaBigPapa

    LittleMamaBigPapa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2009
    Bellevue, Nebraska
    Quote:DICTIONARY DEFINITIONS:
    live·stock   /ˈlaɪvˌstɒk/ Show Spelled[lahyv-stok] Show IPA
    –noun ( used with a singular or plural verb )
    the horses, cattle, sheep, and other useful animals kept or raised on a farm or ranch.

    According to the definition of the word "livestock" it can also include cats (useful for killing mice), dogs (useful for rounding up cattle), etc, etc.....so again I say "We are not breaking any laws"

    pet    /pɛt/ Show Spelled [pet] Show IPA noun, adjective, verb, pet·ted, pet·ting.
    –noun
    1. any domesticated or tamed animal that is kept as a companion and cared for affectionately.


    My chickens are NOT "livestock" BECAUSE they don't live on a farm........my chickens are pets, no different than my cat - pets that just happen to give me a free egg once in a while.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2010

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