The Law in Ohio (and can I get around it?)

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by spoggy, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. spoggy

    spoggy d'Anver d'Nut

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    Aug 19, 2008
    Carlisle Township
    Hi,

    I'm Steve and I live in Carlisle Township in Lorain County Ohio. My property is 2 1/3 acres. Since I live in the Township, I thought (erroneously) that keeping bantams would be a no brainer. WRONG. Seems that if you live in a "platted subdivision", township zoning regulations revert to the Ohio Revised Code. This is according to the Township zoning inspector who was smugly secure in his ability to cite and fine me for any attemp to keep chickens.

    Here is the law as it pertains to me in my township:

    519.21 Powers not conferred on township zoning commission by chapter.
    (A) Except as otherwise provided in division (B) of this section, sections 519.02 to 519.25 of the Revised Code confer no power on any township zoning commission, board of township trustees, or board of zoning appeals to prohibit the use of any land for agricultural purposes or the construction or use of buildings or structures incident to the use for agricultural purposes of the land on which such buildings or structures are located, including buildings or structures that are used primarily for vinting and selling wine and that are located on land any part of which is used for viticulture, and no zoning certificate shall be required for any such building or structure.

    (B) A township zoning resolution, or an amendment to such resolution, may in any platted subdivision approved under section 711.05, 711.09, or 711.10 of the Revised Code, or in any area consisting of fifteen or more lots approved under section 711.131 of the Revised Code that are contiguous to one another, or some of which are contiguous to one another and adjacent to one side of a dedicated public road, and the balance of which are contiguous to one another and adjacent to the opposite side of the same dedicated public road regulate:

    (1) Agriculture on lots of one acre or less;

    (2) Buildings or structures incident to the use of land for agricultural purposes on lots greater than one acre but not greater than five acres by: set back building lines; height; and size;

    (3) Dairying and animal and poultry husbandry on lots greater than one acre but not greater than five acres when at least thirty-five per cent of the lots in the subdivision are developed with at least one building, structure, or improvement that is subject to real property taxation or that is subject to the tax on manufactured and mobile homes under section 4503.06 of the Revised Code. After thirty-five per cent of the lots are so developed, dairying and animal and poultry husbandry shall be considered nonconforming use of land and buildings or structures pursuant to section 519.19 of the Revised Code.

    Division (B) of this section confers no power on any township zoning commission, board of township trustees, or board of zoning appeals to regulate agriculture, buildings or structures, and dairying and animal and poultry husbandry on lots greater than five acres.

    (C) Such sections confer no power on any township zoning commission, board of township trustees, or board of zoning appeals to prohibit in a district zoned for agricultural, industrial, residential, or commercial uses, the use of any land for a farm market where fifty per cent or more of the gross income received from the market is derived from produce raised on farms owned or operated by the market operator in a normal crop year. However, a board of township trustees, as provided in section 519.02 of the Revised Code, may regulate such factors pertaining to farm markets as size of the structure, size of parking areas that may be required, set back building lines, and egress or ingress, where such regulation is necessary to protect the public health and safety.

    Effective Date: 03-30-1999

    Here is the definition of agriculture:

    519.01 Township zoning - agriculture defined.
    As used in section 519.02 to 519.25 of the Revised Code, “agriculture” includes farming; ranching; aquaculture; apiculture; horticulture; viticulture; animal husbandry, including, but not limited to, the care and raising of livestock, equine, and fur-bearing animals; poultry husbandry and the production of poultry and poultry products; dairy production; the production of field crops, tobacco, fruits, vegetables, nursery stock, ornamental shrubs, ornamental trees, flowers, sod, or mushrooms; timber; pasturage; any combination of the foregoing; the processing, drying, storage, and marketing of agricultural products when those activities are conducted in conjunction with, but are secondary to, such husbandry or production.

    Effective Date: 06-20-1994

    Now, here's where things get interesting. Under ORC 941.01 Animal diseases definitions, Poultry is defined as, "(G) “Poultry” means any domesticated fowl kept in confinement, except for doves and pigeons, that are bred for the primary purpose of producing eggs or meat for human consumption. “Poultry” includes chickens, turkeys, waterfowl, and game birds." The ORC further defines domestic animal as follows, "(D) “Domestic animal” includes livestock; other animals that through long association with humans have been bred to a degree resulting in genetic changes affecting the temperament, color, conformation, or other attributes of the species to an extent that makes them different from nondomestic animals of their kind; and other animals as defined by rule by the director."

    Here's my question, If I'm keeping bantam chickens, for the primary purpose of raising show chickens, my chicken keeping activities no longer fall under the definition of Agricultural Poultry per the definition provided under ORC 941.01 G, as I will not be keeping chickens for "the primary purpose of producing eggs or meat for human consumption" Therefore, If I keep them for show or as pets, I'm legal, right?

    Just looking for opinions, and those who can poke holes in my logic.

    Steve

    P.S. Apiculture is also illegal on my property, according to ORC 519.21. I have been a beekeeper on this property for 8 years, with my hives properly registered with the state, and inspected annually by the county bee inspector with no issues.
     
  2. LilRalphieRoosmama

    LilRalphieRoosmama Officially Quacked

    Oct 15, 2007
    Elyria, OH
    Welcome neighbor and [​IMG] !!!

    I tried to read that but couldn't for the life of me figure out what that mumbo-jumbo meant! All I know is that there are alot of us here in Lorain County with chickens and other farm animals. I checked with the city of North Ridgeville and they said it was fine - chickens are like dogs - as long as the neighbors don't complain, you are fine. I live on Rt 83 so it's rural but city, but not a subdivision. Have friends who have chickens here in developments and they are fine.

    Just be clean, be courteous to the neighbors and hope nobody complains and you should be fine.
     
  3. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    * Man, what a convoluted code!! Looks like you have to prove that the township is less than 35% developed to me, via the amount of property taxes submitted to the state.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2008
  4. Quail_Antwerp

    Quail_Antwerp [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]Mrs

    Aug 16, 2008
    Ohio
    I am in Ohio also, and my mom just went through the same thing. If you are not raising them for MEAT (doesn't matter if you use the eggs for personal use is my understanding, just don't sell them) then they would fall into the pet category.
    At least that was how my mom got around it.
     
  5. spoggy

    spoggy d'Anver d'Nut

    126
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    Aug 19, 2008
    Carlisle Township
    Hello again!

    Sorry about all the legalese, I think what it boils down to is this: ORC defines Poultry as fowl raised primarily for meat or eggs. It defines a Domestic Animal as something different, and specifically distinguishes between Poultry and Domestic Fowl. Carlisle Township defaults to the ORC with respect to Poultry, but the ORC does not prohibit Domestic Fowl. If it did, people could not keep finches and canaries and parrots and such as pets.

    Having said all that, If I'm not keeping bantams for meat or eggs, but rather for showing and pets, then I should be OK with the law, yes? I just have to convince the Township that I'm not doing Agriculture.

    Steve
     
  6. Quail_Antwerp

    Quail_Antwerp [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG]Mrs

    Aug 16, 2008
    Ohio
    Quote:Yes, Steve, I think you are right. If you aren't doing it for meat or making money from eggs, and they are just pets, then I guess I would ask the township what's the difference between a chicken and a parrot? just a few thousand dollars. Follow that up with "they make diapers for chickens. Would it help if I bought those and put them in my house?"
     
  7. happyhen

    happyhen Chillin' With My Peeps

    673
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    May 8, 2008
    Northeastern Ohio
    Your township must have one heck of a good lawyer who wrote that code! Neither DH (law enforcement) nor I (a retired city council president) could make heads or tails of that.

    I advise you contact your township legal representative to interpret this for you.
     
  8. spoggy

    spoggy d'Anver d'Nut

    126
    2
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    Aug 19, 2008
    Carlisle Township
    Yay!

    One opinion that works to my favor. I still need others to look at this and try to poke holes in it as well. I wish you could have seen the look on the inspector's face when I said I wanted chickens...you would have thought that I suggested I was a drug dealer or that I was going to cannibalize my family. Sheesh!

    Steve
     
  9. spoggy

    spoggy d'Anver d'Nut

    126
    2
    121
    Aug 19, 2008
    Carlisle Township
    Quote:That's not the township law, that stuff belongs to the State of Ohio. Rather than write their own law, they default to the Ohio Revised Code in matters of zoning.

    As far as I know, there is no township legal representative. Carlisle uses the Lorain County Prosecutors office for its legal opinions, someone that I do not have access to. I would need to hire a lawyer and have it independently reviewed.

    Steve
     
  10. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    *I swear, I think some people would get less worked- up if you asked to start mass breeding carrion vultures, wouldn't they?? [​IMG]
     

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