Transitioning from roofed to roofless run

zaccari

Hatching
Apr 28, 2020
1
4
8
Baltimore, MD
Wow, what a situation. The money that people with a bug up their butt waste just amazes me.
Generally, when you have approval for something before you do it, changes in rules allow grandfathering. This is not a situation where everyone has to give. It's a done deal with approval given. I would push back against the "town" and do everything you can to fit into the written rules, up to and including turning the run so that it does not come up to the setback. My additional thought is that if the run-in is adjacent to the coup and the run roof attaches to that, you have a single structure. The next likely step will be to attack the coup and you have to settle this matter with the town properly. I would look for other people who have chickens and try to leverage their implementation(s) toward satisfaction. It will be a lot harder for the town to have more dissatisfied customers who have chickens than your single neighbor.

Having said all of that, i would suggest that you consider approaching and resolving this between yourself and your neighbor. If the complaining stops, your problems stop. I am not the best at diplomacy as I would ask why we are having this feud and what makes it go away. I would venture to guess that every thorn has a cure, it's just a matter if you can find that cure and live with it.

Finally, the zoning people work for someone. Talk to your representative and ask for help. You followed the rules, you are trying to get along, how can s/he help you work through this to everyone's satisfaction. The nice thing about this type of situation, the unreasonable person tends to get more unreasonable when they don't just get their way.
 

countryladyNH

Songster
Feb 22, 2016
362
706
177
New Hampshire USA
My Coop
You already had approval. It is not necessary for you to make compromises, especially when it comes to the run roof!! You have already determined that the NOTHING is going to make the neighbor happy. If this is resolved, you can bet there will be another issue and more complaints from him. I would be darned if I would remove the roof or make any other adjustments. A simple legal consultation would help you compose a letter to the neighbor and the town board. I really think you should fight this.
 

Iheartbirds

In the Brooder
May 17, 2020
15
29
36
You could get plexiglass from Home Depot! I just purchased a nice piece for $40 to my a sunroof for my chickens. It would lay flat and no one could see.
I would be concerned that plexiglass would exceed their heat tolerance level. It's used in greenhouses for that amplification.
 

K0k0shka

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Jul 24, 2019
1,929
4,684
317
Boston Area, MA
My Coop
I would be concerned that plexiglass would exceed their heat tolerance level. It's used in greenhouses for that amplification.
The roof I'm taking off is the clear panels from Home Depot. Not plexiglass - polycarbonate - but same idea and also used for greenhouses. I've had that roof for half a year now, including through a very hot summer, and had absolutely no heat issues at all. It's a run so it's open on all sides but the top, plenty of air moving through.
 

countryladyNH

Songster
Feb 22, 2016
362
706
177
New Hampshire USA
My Coop
The roof I'm taking off is the clear panels from Home Depot. Not plexiglass - polycarbonate - but same idea and also used for greenhouses. I've had that roof for half a year now, including through a very hot summer, and had absolutely no heat issues at all. It's a run so it's open on all sides but the top, plenty of air moving through.
It's the same roof we have on our run, and it really is perfect. We're in NH. You really should keep the roof for the hens. Keeps the run dry and prevents all kinds of illness, etc. You had approval; Please consider fighting this. It's only going to snowball, even if you cave on the 'roof' issue.
 

littledog

Songster
Aug 7, 2011
296
1,148
247
Puget Sound area, WA
You need to get on the offense. Take a look at his property and what he has, how he uses it. Does he leave a car parked in front of your property? Does he have wind chimes that are annoying? Does he have floodlights that could potentially affect your sleep or shine on your property causing ptsd attacks? Loud music? A dog that poops and he doesn’t clean up after? Non-compliant mailbox?
Legitimate issues.
THEN
Educate yourself on all the bylaws, rules etc. Find something in violation and make him aware that you’ll start your own complaint case against him. OR he can drop the case against your chickens and you’ll take it no further. It’s a called Leverage. He has to realize the consequences of what he’s doing will have far-reaching effects that go well beyond chickens. Stay within the law but use it to your advantage.
Good luck. It’s a frustrating situation.
We read your original post thoroughly and all the other 27 pages of posts. We looked at your beautiful coop and run. We live in NH, and we have a run with a 'roof' of the same clear corrugated plastic that yours has. We agree with everyone here who advises you to FIGHT THIS. Before we would ever remove our run roof, we would fight this all the way. The folks here who said that your plans were approved long ago, that you were grandfathered in and that the neighbor moved in AFTER that when the coop and run were already in place are correct.
We truly believe you would win any legal battle regarding this. As advised by others here, we agree and also advise you to leave the roof on, and consult a lawyer. A first consultation could be free and you would be advised on what kind of a letter to write. We would first go get a copy of ALL the laws/ordinances, and highlight every single thing applicable. Then consult an attorney. We truly think the guy doesn't have a leg to stand on. Additionally the commissioner is NOT "compromising"---He is going back on what he told you and approved years before, and now asking you to change what he sanctioned to MAKE THINGS CONVENIENT FOR HIM, and a PITA neighbor go away! This is ridiculous! There IS a precedent here, and your 'run roof' is NOT illegal or against any town ordinance! PLEASE fight this for all chicken lovers. If you cave on this, there will only be something else. It will never end, because THE PROBLEM IS NOT YOUR COOP OR RUN OR EVEN CHICKENS. THE PROBLEM IS AN UNHAPPY INDIVIDUAL WHO HAPPENS TO LIVE NEXTDOOR, AND WHO'S LIFE MISSION IT IS TO MAKE CONTINUAL TROUBLE IN ONE FORM OR ANOTHER, FOR OTHERS.
I would fight to keep my coop and run exactly as I designed it, as it was approved, and constructed! This also sends a better message to the jerk neighbor, that you WILL STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS and not back down. Please keep updating. We're all sending good wishes and hoping for a great outcome for you.
Lot's of good suggestions about what to adjust or change to make the neighbor happy, but ultimately, the OP shouldn't have to change anything! OP's structure was approved from the beginning of their build, before that jerk of a neighbor ever moved next door. Legally, he has no leg to stand on, he's just trying to make the town council back down by being louder and more unpleasant.

Keep fighting! Form a group with your other chicken-keeping neighbors, and make your combined voices louder than his. I bet among all of you, there's at least a few people who have access to good legal representation, including through peoples' work benefits.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
87,647
105,571
1,727
SW Michigan
My Coop
You should read ALL posts and OP post for the circumstances. They WERE APPROVED a FEW YEARS AGO. Trouble started when new neighbor decided he objected to chickens and decided to make trouble. OP has every legal right to keep things as they are.
I have followed this thread from the beginning, and all was worked out before the onslaught of posts created by the newsletter feature...the legalities are tricky and were well explained.
Have also followed the OP's other threads about the build and neighbor issues.
 

K0k0shka

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
Jul 24, 2019
1,929
4,684
317
Boston Area, MA
My Coop
OP here. The run build was approved one year ago - last fall - by two town officials, but the trouble is that it was approved verbally over the phone, with no evidence. Now one of those officials (the head of the building department who calls the shots) has gone back on his word and is saying the roof is not okay and he never said it was (WTF); the other guy still says it's fine. First guy outranks him so it's whatever he says. He says I should've asked for his approval in writing, so I have evidence. I didn't realize I needed that, but I guess you can't trust anything and anybody (and I never will again). Like I've said before, this is a gray area in the law because of the ambiguous nature of the run (is it a fence? a building? a pen? how is it classified?) It's up to said guy to interpret the law and decide how to apply it. So I can probably get a lawyer and spend a whole bunch of money, but at the end of the day, I probably won't achieve anything because there is no specific law to be enforced here, it's a matter of interpretation. So that's where we are right now. I've been fighting this for half a year, it's not like I'm passively letting it happen. It's just that I've exhausted all avenues and am left with what seems like the only option left - to take the roof off.

I'm fighting this on multiple fronts, the roof is just the building department side of it. There's a whole other fight with the health department and a very old and ambiguous law that requires 150-foot setbacks for animals housed outside. It was meant for large barn animals like cows and horses, and the town added an exception for chickens a few years ago. However, the exception was very poorly worded and doesn't hold up in court. My neighbor knows this, hired a lawyer and has been pushing hard for the town to enforce the rule and take my chickens away. To please both sides, the town issued me a corrections order for the violation of the 150-foot rule, with the understanding that they will revise the rules to make it explicitly clear that chickens are not to be regulated, and will pass the revisions before the order's deadline, thus making the order null. Several departments have been working together all summer to craft a new version of the rules and rewrite everything regarding animals in the town, to avoid this from happening to other people. I'm actually very grateful that they are taking the time and resources to do this (all spurred by my case), in a year when they also have COVID to deal with. The only problem is that my deadline is November 3rd (as if that day wasn't ominous enough already), and they haven't voted yet because the lawyer on the case is taking too long crafting the language. He wants to avoid any potential loopholes, like the one that spurred the case. Which is great, but I'm running out of time. So now I have 3 options: 1) hope they can give me an extension, which they're looking into doing, 2) give my chickens to somebody else to house temporarily, or 3) bring the chickens into my basement while I wait for the vote. I don't have 150 feet to spare, so there's nowhere else on my property they can go but inside the house, where the setback rule can't reach them. All of this is ridiculous given that the town's intent is to pass the revisions and make all this unnecessary. But the timing sucks. And now instead of carving pumpkins with my kids, I may need to spend the next few days clearing out the basement as emergency shelter for 5 measly pullets that have gotten the whole town tied in a knot...
 
Last edited:

Folly's place

Enabler
Sep 13, 2011
21,778
33,678
1,036
southern Michigan
Thanks for the update! It's too bad more people haven't bothered to actually read your posts before adding 'clutter' to this thread. And I really hope things work out in your favor, this is a miserable experience for you, totally thanks to one idiot neighbor, not to mention certain officials who are trying to please everyone, which usually can't be done.
All the best,
Mary
 

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