Wow! I was doing some research on zoning regulations and keeping chickens in my state and stumbled onto this gem. http://www.co.ho.md.us/CountyCouncil/CCdocs/BA0549vd&o.pdf WARNING: It is a tedious legal document... Frankly, I can't believe that I read the whole thing. But, ironically, I think it was how it was written that goaded me on. Apparently, if I read it correctly, the appellant had an enforcement officer from the Dept of Planning and Zoning inspecting his property (no reason given). This officer found a chicken coop on the <1 acre property. The appellant was cited with 1) keeping farm animals on R-2 zoned property (24 Araucanas) and 2) sheltering them in a structure that was 45 ft too close to the nearest dwelling (needs to be 200 ft or more). This document is the result of an appeal for a variance (so he could keep his chickens and not have to move his coop.) Now, Howard County does permit fowl on residential property for "the normal use of the family." But, in the CONCLUSION OF LAW section, the hearing examiner wrote this long, twisted ramble on what is "normal family use." He supports his argument with citations of the American Heritage Dictionary and the New York Times. He also throws in the American Heart Association at one point. To add insult, the section has flippant subsection titles like "Counting Your Chickens" and "Flying the Coop." IMHO, the CONCLUSION OF LAW section seems to be an unnecessarily long, cynical diatribe by the hearing examiner, just to deny the appellant's appeal. I understand the need for zoning laws, but how this judgment is handed down seems demeaning and disrespectful on the part of hearing examiner, and gives a rather harsh interpretation that I hope does not set a precedent for the rest of us. Have any of you had to deal with this kind of stuff?