Worried about getting permission from neighbor for chickens...

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by sheribaz, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. sheribaz

    sheribaz New Egg

    Nov 29, 2010
    I live in an area of St. Petersburg called Shore Acres. Our city ordinance allows us to keep chickens, as long as the coop is 100 feet away from neighbors' residences -- UNLESS we can get neighbors' permission. I have everyone's permission except one neighbor who I'm afraid to ask. They are a shady crew -- son has been arrested twice and is currently being processed for sexual battery with a minor (we'll call him Criminal here on out) -- father is on disability and slinks around the house day and night. They have two large dogs that used to be a real barking nuisance, and I've reported them twice for barking. Of course, they do not like me, since I take pride in the care for my home and yard and keep it beautifully-maintained.
    Here's my issue: I would like to build a coop for two chickens next to my garage (which is at the far opposite side of my fenced-in back yard from the Criminal), and they wouldn't even see the chickens unless I have them out under supervised grazing in my fully-fenced backyard. I can't measure the total property from the coop's location to the criminal's residence, but it's 75 feet from my coop to my backyard fence, and I'm assuming only another 10 feet or so to their residence. I read horror stories about people getting codes compliance warnings if they're under 100 feet without the neighbor's permission, but I'm absolutely terrified of asking this neighbor for any kind of "permission" since they are pros at breaking the law (have I mentioned the Criminal hasn't paid his mortgage in over 24 months and his property taxes in almost as long? We checked the tax records since they are such a nuisance to our little neighborhood.).
    I have two wonderful 6-month-old chickens that are already being given to me, courtesy of my wonderful farm manager in Odessa. They are both extremely personable Ameraucanas who follow me around every weekend at the barn and beg to be held. My barn manager says they prefer the small coop and protective areas and therefore would transition well to my yard. She has agreed to take them back at any time, in case I can't keep them here due to the Criminal/Code ordinances... But I'd like to have my boyfriend build a gorgeous yellow coop (much like the Hawaiian Coop in the "small coops" section on this website) next to my garage (opposite side of Criminal), and I don't want him to have to do all that work if I end up having to fight the City. I work at home and am here virtually all day, every day, and can keep a close eye on the girls if and when I decide to bring them "home."
    Need some help and general advice on what to do and if I should a) call the Codes guy and have a frank chat about my dilemma, or b) take my chances and just do it, then fight the City if it comes to it. I know I'd win the "sympathy vote" since I'd be arguing against a guy who has broken virtually every city code and continues to do so, but I'd hate the stress of going through that.
    Another thing -- sorry this is so long -- I have 8' high fencing (white vinyl) in my backyard -- even if I keep the girls' wings clipped regularly, I'd be HORRIFIED if they flew up and over the fence. Any experience with wing-clipped chickies jumping fences? Sorry this was so long; but would love some advice from folks with chickens...
  2. 1mommahen

    1mommahen Love My Cluckin' Coop

    Mar 20, 2008
    Go for it! Asking for forgiveness is easier than asking for permission sometimes! I have 6ft stockade fence around my property and no chicken has hopped it yet![​IMG]
  3. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    I would do it...
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    If it were me I would just ask the guy if he minded if I have chickens.

    If he says no, he says no.

    And then maybe he'll move one day. And then - chickens.

    But that's me. I wouldn't want to have to talk bad about someone to the city.
  5. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2010
    San Diego
    That's great that you're trying to cross all your Ts and dot your Is because that's what I would do, too. However, I, personally, don't think you should worry about these neighbors ratting you out because they probably won't like inspectors coming onto their property to measure things, etc. Or, they might not like having the attention of the city or law enforcement on them, so they will probably not be a problem. I think if you were ever asked why you didn't get permission from them, you have a valid defense as I don't think you should have to risk your safety to ask. However, I would worry about them stealing your chickens/eggs or hurting them.

    If you change your mind about approaching them, you can offer free eggs to them if you get their permission if you think that will help.

    Something tells me that they're not going to be living there very much longer, but then you will have to deal with the possibility of new neighbors to get permission from.
  6. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Just a couple of random thoughts

    First Welcome to BYC

    1- Are they really neighbors? or are they squatters since they are not paying the mortgage or taxes. By now I'd think a bank owns the house.

    2- Is there another neighbor that can ask (one that gets along with the criminal better)

    I doubt a full grown large chicken will go over an 8 ft fence. Maybe a 6 month old but I'd think that's unlikely. They can and do wiggle under fences though.

  7. Ed62

    Ed62 Chillin' With My Peeps

    He probably isn't aware of the ordinance. Since you don't get along with him, it would likely be a losing battle if you ask for permission. I think I'd just take my chances, especially since you have already talked to other neighbors. He probably wouldn't say a word.

  8. Klukkin Ken

    Klukkin Ken Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 22, 2010
    I am going through a similar ordeal with a nasty neighbor. 100 foot ordinance, strange police chief, etc. Google maps became my friend along with all the other neighbors around me. I googled my address and got on the satellite view (with the handy scale on it) and managed to find a location on my property where I will only be within 100 feet of one neighbor. One of my hens will be sold to him for one cent therefore "we" will own the chickens and be perfectly within the ordinances.
    If your neighbor has been reported by you for his dogs, I wouldn't be surprised if he reports you as well just for spite, but it sounds like he won't be there much longer.
  9. sheribaz

    sheribaz New Egg

    Nov 29, 2010
    Thanks so much to everyone so far for understanding and for taking the time to reply! My gut says to follow the law and just ask the old man one day (since Criminal only comes and stays in the house about 3 days a week -- he works in Orlando or something), but pose it as this: "The county requires I notify my neighbors and if there are any issues, we can go down to the Code Enforcement building to discuss them with the Code Enforcement Officer," or something like that. Of course, friendly tone... AND definitely bring someone with me. I do have a neighbor across the street who gets along with them just fine (she hasn't had to deal with their crap as much), and I could possibly ask her to come with me as a buffer. But I'd feel a little bit like a 12-year-old with a chaperone... haha. Anyway, I am going to think about it for a few weeks and IF the opportunity arises -- i.e.; if I'm outside and the old man is out taking the garbage out or something -- maybe approach him quickly and casually with my "I'm being a good neighbor and letting you know" spiel. Thanks again all; look for an update from me in a few weeks as I continue to marinate on this, and I hope to be a much closer member of this forum SOON!!! [​IMG]
  10. PineappleMama

    PineappleMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    What about a tractor? If it's movable then maybe if those folks come out/call you can move it over the extra 15' or so??

    As to asking... maybe some of your other neighbors wouldn't mind going in on a group permission slip? "A few of us were considering getting chickens and wanted to know if you were okay with that?" Have as many siggies as you can, including yours, so if they say okay (so's not to peeve half the neighborhood) then it will be a clear grant of permission to YOU, and can be used by others too?? Might make it a little less scary... AND it would save your neighbors having to ask them if after seeing how awesome yours are they decide to get a few themselves??

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