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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My local township told me Because I live in a residential zone that I can not have pigeons because they are not considered to be a domesticated type of pet. I pointed out that they are racing pigeons and not the "common" feral pigeon. I also pointed out some things I found in the booklet "Homing Pigeons Perception vs. Reality", that I received from the AU. They came back to me and said that I couldn't have them because they now fall under the Kennel Zoning and I would need to live on a 2 acre lot. Now the only thing for me to do is apply for a variance. The fee for that is $500. Now how in the world am I to come up with $500 to be able to do something that I should already have the right to do.:mad:
 

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How did they find out you had birds? I live in a residential zone also but my neighbors are really cool about me having my birds. They all love watching them fly and I do special releases for their kids on their b-days so they see that they're not just your average pigeons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I want to build a new loft in the Spring. I contacted the township to see if there was a limit on how many pigeons I could have so I would know how big I could make my loft and follow the zoning laws. Thats when they told me I cant have them. I didnt have anyone show up yet but I'm sure I will.
 

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Yeah, I'm sure after your talk with them they'll send someone to investigate. That's what sucks when trying to do the right thing sometimes. You might have been better off just doing it and not asking. IMO
 

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I have a friend that is a township zoning inspector.
He says that is always easier to ask forgiveness, then to ask for and get permission.
Local governments have a tendency to say no before a project is started, but find a way to work around a project, once completed.
Good Luck.
 

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MCOX0112....I live in a small city here in WVa....I can`t have my birds on my property because the law here says,the loft has to be 200 ft from a dwelling,school,church...Ofcourse,my dweling doesn`t count,it`s everybody else`s dweling etc..So I rent a spot on this guys property,and I pay him $50 per month rent...It`s one mile from my house,and it`s a great spot.....I use to have my loft 6 miles from my home....You wouldn`t beleive how much in gas it cost me to go back and forth 3 times a day or more..There was NO rent there....I save $$ by paying the $50,and being only 1 mile from home....Hope it works out for you in town..If not,find a guy who will let you put a loft on their property.....Good Luck....Alamo
 

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If your cool with your neighbors just stay put. Wait to some one comes over and starts . Then you do what you have to do. Sometimes they forget. When you bother city workers about papers and all this stuff they get annoyed. Just let it be for now.
 

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It might be...but what precisely is he asking forgiveness FOR ? He had the loft prior to the ordinance/code which made the loft non-complying.

I have two suggestions:

1) see if there is an IDA (In Defense of Animals) branch anywhere in your state. Contact them and ask for advice. They are a very good legal defense organization for animal welfare/advocacy.

2) Hire a lawyer....or even find a friend of a friend of an acquaintance who IS one. Tell them the situation and ask their advice.

Here is the problem with the township's position: your condition was existing prior to the code being adopted. Therefore, you should NOT have to apply for a variance to a code which was adopted after the condition existed (unless the condition already violated any codes prior to the new one). It is valid that if you wish to expand your existing condition, THEN it would require a variance. It is sorta valid if, when you erected the loft (or began utilizing an existing structure as a loft) it violated applicable codes at that time.
BUT, as I said, if the condition existed and one can even make a fairly good argument that it did not violate Zoning codes beforehand (perhaps because the code didn't address the issue at all ?), then they are overstepping their authority.
I am an architect, among other things...and it sounds to me like the township is actually on some shaky legal footing here. Places often tend to try to do this in a bullying way, and folks feel quite helpless because, like YOU....they just wanna do the right thing and be honest.

But there are times to get your hackles up and dig in a bit.

That's your primary argument and it's a pretty darn good one too. As a fallback position...these sorta lawyers often know the folks who sit on variance boards; so...how can I put this ?....you can utilize the services of someone who may help the board see things your way, should it come to a variance hearing or decision. But that's a fallback, as I said. I still think you are on terra firma when it comes to your primary argument.

Personally...I am of a different mind when it comes to stuff like this. Asking forgiveness form some city/town official who's job it is to just uphold codes and ordinances....may not get you anywhere. As a matter of fact, it may well result in them really going for the jugular. You can try it...but, if the time comes...you may well need to advocate for your rights and your Pigeons...and it's best to have someone as an ally who has done all code analysis and knows of things such as property/real estate/construction law as well as animal welfare law.

That's my advice. Best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
They say my pigeons fall under their kennel ordinance. Here is what it says.

Kennel - any building or buildings and/or land used for the boarding, breeding
or training of four or more dogs, cats, fowl or other small domestic animals at least
4 months of age and kept for purposes of profit, show, hunting or as pets but not
to include riding stables or cases involving animals raised for agricultural
purposes.

Ord. 2004-08, 5/24/2004)
§27-633. Kennel.
1. Minimum lot area: 2 acres.
2. All animal boarding buildings that are not wholly enclosed and outdoor animal
pens, stalls, or runways shall be located within the rear yard area and shall be a
minimum of 100 feet from all property lines.
3. All animals must be housed within a common structure except while
exercising.
4. All pasture and outdoor recreational areas shall be enclosed to prevent the
escape of animals; all such enclosures shall be set back least 10 feet from all property
lines.
5. Satisfactory evidence must be presented to indicate that adequate disposal of
animal waste will be provided in a manner that will not create a public health hazard
or nuisance.
6. Provided no veterinary facilities are located on the property, the Township
Sewage Enforcement Officer may and shall certify the adequacy of an on-lot
wastewater system to handle the additional volume generated by the kennel in those
areas dependent on on-lot wastewater systems. Otherwise a permit shall be obtained
from DEP's Bureau of Water Quality Management as required by the Clean Streams
Law, 35 P.S. §659.101 et seq.
(Ord. 97-8, 9/8/1997, §633; as readopted by Ord. 2004-06, 4/26/2004; and readopted by
Ord. 2004-08, 5/24/2004)
 

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The way that ordinance reads to me is that if someone owns a dog a cat and 2 gerbils they need 2 acres. IMO
Kurps
 

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They say my pigeons fall under their kennel ordinance. Here is what it says.

Kennel - any building or buildings and/or land used for the boarding, breeding
or training of four or more dogs, cats, fowl or other small domestic animals at least
4 months of age and kept for purposes of profit, show, hunting or as pets but not
to include riding stables or cases involving animals raised for agricultural
purposes.

Ord. 2004-08, 5/24/2004)
§27-633. Kennel.
1. Minimum lot area: 2 acres.
2. All animal boarding buildings that are not wholly enclosed and outdoor animal
pens, stalls, or runways shall be located within the rear yard area and shall be a
minimum of 100 feet from all property lines.
3. All animals must be housed within a common structure except while
exercising.
4. All pasture and outdoor recreational areas shall be enclosed to prevent the
escape of animals; all such enclosures shall be set back least 10 feet from all property
lines.
5. Satisfactory evidence must be presented to indicate that adequate disposal of
animal waste will be provided in a manner that will not create a public health hazard
or nuisance.
6. Provided no veterinary facilities are located on the property, the Township
Sewage Enforcement Officer may and shall certify the adequacy of an on-lot
wastewater system to handle the additional volume generated by the kennel in those
areas dependent on on-lot wastewater systems. Otherwise a permit shall be obtained
from DEP's Bureau of Water Quality Management as required by the Clean Streams
Law, 35 P.S. §659.101 et seq.
(Ord. 97-8, 9/8/1997, §633; as readopted by Ord. 2004-06, 4/26/2004; and readopted by
Ord. 2004-08, 5/24/2004)
All 'ordinances' have a section at the beginning with 'definitions'.
What is their definition of 'building' and 'fowl' and 'training'? This ordinance seems rather broad and flimsy to me. So by 'this' ordinance, if you have 2 dogs and 2 cats, and 'train' them to stay out of the trash........you have a kennel?! :rolleyes: It doesn't even mention 'caged domestic birds', birds aren't 'small domestic animals'.
 

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All 'ordinances' have a section at the beginning with 'definitions'.
What is their definition of 'building' and 'fowl' and 'training'? This ordinance seems rather broad and flimsy to me. So by 'this' ordinance, if you have 2 dogs and 2 cats, and 'train' them to stay out of the trash........you have a kennel?! :rolleyes: It doesn't even mention 'caged domestic birds', birds aren't 'small domestic animals'.
Sorry Waynette I already looked it up in Wikipedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_animal
Kurps
 

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Well that's not good :( But you can go to 5 different sites and get 5 different definitions......that's what keeps lawyers in business ;)
Well Lawyers need to make money too,haha.
All 'ordinances' have a section at the beginning with 'definitions'.
What is their definition of 'building' and 'fowl' and 'training'? This ordinance seems rather broad and flimsy to me. So by 'this' ordinance, if you have 2 dogs and 2 cats, and 'train' them to stay out of the trash........you have a kennel?! :rolleyes: It doesn't even mention 'caged domestic birds', birds aren't 'small domestic animals'.
I totally agree with you here Waynette, seems this broad ordinance was put in place to bend and twist to whichever way they see fit. I wonder if people in your neighborhood know about this ordinance.
Kurps
 

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Well Lawyers need to make money too,haha.


I totally agree with you here Waynette, seems this broad ordinance was put in place to bend and twist to whichever way they see fit. I wonder if people in your neighborhood know about this ordinance.
Kurps
:eek: LOL, I would dare to guess that 3/4 of the town's population is in violation :D
 
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