Wanting to change the law

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by Gnawsey, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. Gnawsey

    Gnawsey Out Of The Brooder

    42
    0
    22
    Apr 3, 2007
    Hi everyone,

    As some of you know, I just received notice from my city that I am in code violation for my chickens. As upsetting as this news is, it has me fired up about changing the law. I have found a new home for my current flock of 4 hens (I don't want to fight the city while being in violation) but, I'm hoping that backyard chickens are not out of my live forever.

    I currently live in the east bay area in Brentwood CA. If anyone has any valuable information on how they have been successful in changing the law, I would love to hear it. I would like to take a couple of months and research everything I can, and make a really strong case. Any ideas would be appreciated.

    Thank You,
    Stacie
     
  2. modenacart

    modenacart Chillin' With My Peeps

    159
    0
    129
    Jan 21, 2008
    New Bern, NC
    I would find out what the ordinace says exactly. A lot of time the people who are in public office have no idea what they are talking about and are pushing an agenda of their own. You ordinace may be in your favor.
     
  3. Gnawsey

    Gnawsey Out Of The Brooder

    42
    0
    22
    Apr 3, 2007
    I will post what the municipal Code says:

    "BMC 17.670.005 Domestic Animals-General The keeping of domestic animals within the city shall be subject to the following regulations: Minimum lot size: Large and small livestock is 1 acre; small animals (i.e. chickens or geese) 20,000 sq. ft.

    B. Chicken houses, rabbit hutches, and similar accessory structures provided for the housing of smaller animals shall be set back not less than sixty feet from the front property line or any street line, and shall be not less than forty feet from any side or rear property line.

    Stacie
     
  4. modenacart

    modenacart Chillin' With My Peeps

    159
    0
    129
    Jan 21, 2008
    New Bern, NC
    How big is your lot?
     
  5. Gnawsey

    Gnawsey Out Of The Brooder

    42
    0
    22
    Apr 3, 2007
    15,800 sq ft...a little over 1/3 of an acre. I would hope to change the law so anyone with over 1/4 acre could have chickens. I would be happy if the city allowed 2-3 hens. On Monday, I will call to make an appt. to talk with someone at city hall. The first thing I want to find out is if this issue has ever been brought forth to city hall, and if it has, why it has failed in the past.

    Stacie
     
  6. Gnawsey

    Gnawsey Out Of The Brooder

    42
    0
    22
    Apr 3, 2007
    ok...just a little update. The code enforcement officer came to my house yesterday to make sure the birds had been removed. It sounds like she is on my side and really doesn't have problems with people keeping a few hens. I had found an old municipal code that I wanted her to check on for me. Neither her or the city's master planner had seen this law before. It states

    6.08.010 Keeping of fowl and animals restricted—Accumulation of offal unlawful.

    It is unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to keep any chickens, ducks, pigeons, geese, turkeys, rabbits, Belgian hares, guinea pigs or other domestic fowl or animals in any enclosure in the city of Brentwood unless the exterior boundaries of the enclosure are more than twenty feet from any dwelling, church or school. It is unlawful to permit the accumulation of offal or manure in any coop or enclosure in which such fowl or animals are kept. (Ord. 32 § 1, 1949)


    so, according to the old code, I would be legal. I asked her if I could choose which code I wanted to follow. She laughed and told me she couldn't say yet. They are having someone look into the code for an official interpretation of it.

    I also wrote an email to the mayor and city council hoping to get some dialog started. After 3 days I still haven't heard anything back. I guess today I'll call the offices. If anyone wants, I'll post a copy of the letter. I tried to list many reasons why backyard chickens are beneficial.

    If anyone can guide me on what to do next, I would love the advice. I'm thinking I should maybe make my case at the next city hall meeting.

    Thanks,
    Stacie
     
  7. sticks22

    sticks22 Chillin' With My Peeps

    107
    0
    119
    Aug 5, 2008
    Grove, oklahoma
    I once new of a neighbor of mine that had chickens. The city law was no chickens were allowed within the city limits. So to get around the law they had kept a few chickens within a small shed that had no outside exits with windows for ventilation. They didnt have any roos to keep from making themselves noticed. They also gave free eggs to the neighbors if they asked and they happily agreed. Maybe you should do the same and try to get your neighbors on your side. Then next time there wont be any problems.
    How did you get caught? How did they find out that you had them?
     
  8. Gnawsey

    Gnawsey Out Of The Brooder

    42
    0
    22
    Apr 3, 2007
    We had just moved into our new house. The chickens had been at the new house for about 5 days when I got the notice in the mail. We haven't even met our new neighbors yet, so I have no idea who made the call. They might have seen us moving the coop in and just called based on that. I'm not sure.

    Here is a copy of the letter I sent to city hall:

    Dear Mayor and Council Members,



    As a mother, and resident of Brentwood for almost 8 years, I am writing to
    you on the issue of Municipal Code 17.670.005. I am hoping that this code
    can be amended so that the City of Brentwood will allow up to 3 backyard
    hens (and only hens - no roosters) on city lots smaller than 20,000 sq ft.
    This change would have many positive benefits.



    Locally or homegrown food is now more important than ever. With the scares
    of current food recalls and the economic hardships that have befallen our
    country, people should be able to provide safe, healthy, and cost-effective
    food for their families. Home raised eggs are healthier than store-bought
    eggs in a variety of ways. Some of the more commonly known benefits of
    home-raised eggs are: higher amounts vitamin E, higher amounts beta carotene
    (Vitamin A), higher amounts of the essential Omega 3 fatty acid. Having
    your own hens also ensures that the eggs are from happy and healthy
    chickens.



    Having backyard chickens is also a great learning experience for children.
    In today's age, most children are removed from where food comes from. It
    teaches children responsibly and helps provide young children with a sense
    of accomplishment.



    Chickens also make great pets. When raised as a pet, they are friendly and
    sociable. They will sit on your lap, eat treats from out of your hand, and
    will come when called. They also put themselves to bed at dusk and make
    relatively little noise. They are far quieter than most neighborhood dogs.



    Chickens have little smell when coops and chicken yards are properly
    maintained and waste is removed or composted. Chickens will also provide
    organic pest control and fertilizer for gardens, making gardening a
    healthier, cheaper alternative to store bought produce.



    Backyard chicken keeping is a growing trend across America and the Bay Area.
    Many local cities are adopting new laws regarding this issue, including
    Redwood City and Somona.



    With the Brentwood's rich farming history backyard chickens seem like the
    perfect way to preserve a slice of the past while allowing the community to
    reap the benefits listed above. Please seriously consider amending BMC
    17.670.005.



    Thank you for your time and I look forward to your reply,


    Stacie
     
  9. PAChickenChick

    PAChickenChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    139
    0
    119
    May 4, 2008
    It may also be helpful to check the code for PETS.

    I'm not allowed to keep "livestock" but I am allowed to have "pets".

    What's the difference???? For some reason the number of animals is the difference. One or two (rabbits, chickens, ducks, ect...) are considered "pets". Ten or more is considered "farming livestock".

    Look into the pet ordinance.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by