Vague Restrictions

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by karenv, May 4, 2011.

  1. karenv

    karenv New Egg

    May 4, 2011
    Having 3 beautiful birds, raised, named and (which I consider "household pets" and recently building a clean, contained and comfortable coop, I have been notified by my HOA president that I am in voilation of having my chickens and my "coop" on my property.

    His letter states this violation:

    Provided that such us does not create any condition conflicting with the residential nature of the subdivision, the following animals may be raised or kept on the property:
    1. Household pets, such as cats, dogs and birds.
    2. Livestock raised as a supervised public school project, for so long as used for a school project.
    3. Horses and cattle, provided that a total of no more than one head per acre of area (with the size of the lot rounded either up or down to the nearest even acre) is kept on the lot.
    Otherwise, no animals may be raised or maintained on any lot."

    I have had my birds since chicks, a gift from my son. Cared for in my home or garage since chicks and only recently when I interpreted the deed restrictions to allow my birds as pets I moved them to my yard. Now I have 7 days to remove my birds AND the COOP from the subdivisioin entirely!! They also state, to place the coop or birds in my garage would not satisfy the requirements of the restrictions. The restrictions also DO NOT make reference to any consequences for being in violation, but I know that the (voluntary payment) of this association has had prior law suits against owners for other violations.

    Does this look anything like a winning fight with the vagueness of the verbiage and how can they demand removal of my coop? The restrictions have no restriction with regard to coops with such verbiage. Hmmmmm. Makes me feel nauseous.

    I live in a large acreage custom home subdivision in a small south Texas country town.

    I LOVE THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE! It is delightful and thanks kindly for your opinions.
  2. Teach97

    Teach97 Bantam Addict

    Nov 12, 2008
    Hooker, OK

    you first mistake was living with a HOA...letting folks pick the color o fyour house ain't cool...but anyways....

    sounds like they have seems to state which animals you can have....and chickens don't make it as an outdoor animal...I don't see why you couldn't have them as indoor animals that get to raom dogs or cats are allowed because if they are allowing the household dogs out then so the chickens are thought would be this...if dogs are kept outside full time by anyone then you have a standing condition that allows that so thus chickens as birds should be allowed...could you win...maybe...would they fight it...maybe....who has the longest blink factor or pockets deep enough to fight it?

    Would I fight...yup...but I would never live with a HOA
  3. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

    Jun 11, 2010
    York PA
    I know what the letter states but is it word for word out of the CCR's? Have you read them recently? If it doesn't state what is supposed to happen when there is a violation, then how is is enforceable? I would PM SonoranSilkes. She is really good with HOA's, bylaws and CCR's.
    ETA - [​IMG]
    Last edited: May 4, 2011
  4. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

    Jun 11, 2010
    York PA
    Quote:Not all HOA's are bad. I live under one now but you can bet that I read the CCR's before I purchased the land. The one I live under is not real restrictive and I have yet to see someone running around looking for violations.
  5. calista

    calista Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 27, 2010
    I would fight this -- with advice from a lawyer, other HOA subdivisions in your county, your local Extension Service, publicity, and whatever else you can think of. Put up a Facebook page, too.

    It simply amazes me that restrictions on small livestock in limited amounts exist in "large acreage" subdivisions. Especially when your birds ARE family pets.

    Good luck and let us know what you find out.
  6. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 10, 2010
    Unless you are in violation of specific building covenents, then the coop is a seperate matter and they most likely cannot make you get rid of it unless you violated a building specific covenant. For instance, approval from the architectural committee is required before construction, only allowe dto have 1 shed and you now have 2.

    Our HOA states 2 oubuildings are allowed and their maximum size; I think it is 1800 sq.ft. and 2400 sq.ft. Any more than 2 outbuildings or an outbuilding larger than that would be considered a violation and they could tell me to take it down. The covenants also place limits on where a building can be located - 10 feet from property line, 75 feet from neighboring house and 100 feet back from front property line. Our covenants do not list what the penalty is for non-compliance, but the HOA can take it to court.

    However, check your copy of the covenants carefully to see what specifically your HOA documents say. Ours say you are allowed to have 2 horses per lot, no other livestock allowed. And I am sorry but, no matter how much you love your chickens, they are considered livestock.

    It seems you are in violation of the covenants with your chickens. Can you start a signature compaign and petition to change the covenants to allow chickens. I am in the process now of putting it up to a vote with our HOA to allow a limited number of chickens per lot within our subdivision.

    How old is your son, could he join 4H and make them legal that way? 4H is an excellant program that your whole family can learn alot from. A 4H project never remains a solo effort. [​IMG]
  7. karenv

    karenv New Egg

    May 4, 2011
    Yes ma'am. He stated exactly how the restrictions read. They are extremely vague with regard to only "dogs, cats and "birds" as household pets. He insists that they meant household birds as, canaries, finches, parakeets only. Not sure how that is enforceable and the restrictions DO NOT mention consequences anywhere with regard to violations. Not a word of it. It wouldn't surprise me that they still try and take me to court to rid me of my birds and my COOP! Are you kidding me? My COOP too ! Thanks kindly to all who have chirped in! I am grateful.
  8. mrsbos

    mrsbos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 11, 2010
    Greenacres, WA
    Because your chickens are "birds" by definition and you consider them as pets, I would fight the HOA....IF.....your immediate neighbors are not complaining about the noise, smell, or unsightliness of your coop. How much acreage do you have? Are the chickens legal per city/county ordinance? How were your chickens discovered? Is your property privacy fenced?

    I am president of my HOA. Our CC&Rs only allow dogs, cats, caged birds, tanked fish, and other conventional small household pets. As long as none of my immediate neighbors are complaining, I am considering my birds "caged" because they do have a caged run (though I do let them free-range my 1/2 acre fenced yard).

    Changing the CC&Rs can be a HUGE pain. We had to consult with an attorney to even think of amending any of ours, and it entails having scheduled open meetings, followed by a ballot that would require 75% of our 92 homes approval to change anything. Our CC&Rs also have restrictions without any fines/fees attached to them. Right now, short of a costly/time consuming lawsuit against a homeonwer, we have no way to enforce any of our rules. None of us on the board wants to sue anyone. I can't imagine they would sue you over a few chickens unless someone was very irritated about them.

    Good luck, and keep us updated.
  9. karenv

    karenv New Egg

    May 4, 2011
    Thank you for your input. I have 2 acres and my birds are more than 500 feet from any neighbor so smell and noise cannot be an issue. I have a new post under The start of my fight just posted if you can read. Thanks again.
  10. pirtykitty

    pirtykitty Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 8, 2008
    Waco, Texas
    We are currently looking for land. Hubby would like to buy land and build house.. Seems like just about every thing around here is going to subdivisions... We found one with 5 acres but the restrictions stated one horse per acre.. they could run cattle on our land at least still we fenced it. chickens and ducks had to be contained.. There was more to it.. I have it out in the car..
    some of the other lots weren't worth having..
    I found a house ( 3 bed, 2 bath) with 12 acres, a tank and out buildings for 215,000. 00 but hubby wants to buy land and build.. I'm afraid of the headaches I've heard of building a house..

    I wonder how you find subdivisions that don't have restrictions. I mean gee 5 acres is a pretty good space isn't it???
    Last edited: May 5, 2011

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