Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Should I bust out my war paint?

So I had to go pay the water bill today. YAY! The water department is at the village hall a few blocks from where I live. While I was in I asked about having chickens. I was told emphatically that you can NOT have chickens -what so ever - in the city limits. Which nonetheless blows for me. However, I also know that DeSoto use to have a ban on pitbulls and that was contested and overturned. Now I'm not wanting to keep a large flock or anything like that. What I want is something similar to the Eglu setup which I would have a maximum of 4 laying hens (If I could afford something like this!) . But even if I built my own small coop and corresponding chicken tractor I still wouldn't have a huge flock of birds. I think that I should be able to. I mean people can keep chickens in London and Chicago for cryin out loud. I think that I am ready to rally for this cause......my right to have a few, well cared for, properly maintained, chickens on my own private property.

So with that out there....who the hell do I need to talk to about setting this up? I have absolutely no clue as to what I need to be doing but I do know it will take a lot of research, wording, and paperwork. Any ideas or advice you guys have I need desperately.


Kathie said...

It's probably a matter of changing zoning and/or city ordinances. Ask for a copy of the city ordinance / appliciable zoning rules that outlaws chickens in the city limits and find out the procedure for:

1. changing city ordinances - usually requires city council meetings/hearings with public comment and for and agains

2. If its a zoning law ask about conditional use permits which may allow just you to keep chickens in city limits - this usually requires a small application and a hearing with the zoning committee.

Make sure to talk to your city council member or mayor or city manager or all of the above depending on your city government and air out your concerns. If you do go the route of changing and have public hearings get lots of folks to support you there...

The Unusually Unusual Farmchick said...

I agree with Kathie. When you speak with zoning, ask for some tips on what you should include. Also, you may want to bring in information about the chicken suburban keepers from other states/areas and show the enthusiasm people have like those in Portland oregan with their Tour de Coops:

Maybe get a copy/website of the portland zoning regulations to show an example of other places with backyard chickens.
Just a suggestion.

Moonwaves said...

Are you familiar with this blog: http://apaetoday.blogspot.com/

The same situation in Salt Lake City (I think, definitely somewhere in Utah) and got the rules changed recently.

Wendy said...

A young girl here in Maine petitioned her town to allow her to keep chickens on her property - within the city limits. Here is the website her family set-up to talk about their chickens.

When I decided I was getting chickens, I researched my community laws. I found NO ordinances specifically prohibiting keeping chickens. There were laws regarding agricultural endeavors (which was the only ordinance that mentioned chickens) and in our ordinance, the definition of agriculture specifically stated "for profit." Since my hens were for my personal use, and their eggs or meat was not going to be for resale, I was able to get chickens.

As it turns out, however, my particular lot is zoned for "agriculture", which is probably why no one has bothered me :), but I have seen and heard chickens in other parts of town.

My suggestion would be to research your laws. If there is no law specifically prohibiting livestock, and in particular, chickens, get them. If there is, it is definitely worthwhile to try to get the ordinance changed.

Gina said...

I second Kathie, get a copy of the ordinance (don't take this woman's word). In the city closest to me (and one I lived in on and off since birth), I *worked* at animal control and just took the word of the director that chickens were banned (we even confiscated some woman's chickens). Later, no longer employed there, but really wanting chickens I wanted to rally for a change. I started with a copy of the ordinance and lo and behold, with some restrictions, chickens WERE ALLOWED. The one restriction was the chickens had to be 50 feet from any dwelling.

Nevertheless, I would definitely fight this. Now is the time; there are many resources and examples on the web dedicated to urban chickens. In fact, I think it was Seattle, ruled that GOATS could be kept on an urban lot.

let me know if I can help in anyway with your "war"! LOL