Urban Chickens, and the Rotten Eggs. ; )
Now, you all know me.
You're all thinking,
"Well, she's a bandit, what does she care?"
I shift my pose to a politician's stance.
"Friends, I fight this fight not for myself, but because I am very aware of all the families that would benefit by this being legal. There are so many recently-arrived immigrants where urban livestock has always been accepted in their countries, or native-born enthusiasts that just want to provide their children with locally raised eggs.
URBAN CHICKENS FOR ALL OF US!"
(clap clap clap clap clap! Thank you. Thank you veddy much.)
----- Original Message -----
To: Pat O'Bannon
Sent: Tuesday, May 06, 2008 9:13 PM
Subject: hens in Henrico?
Hello Mrs. O’Bannon,
I’d like to keep some (3? 4 at most hens, not roosters) chicken in my large, enclosed (6”high privacy fence) back yard. I was under the impression it had to be 400 feet away at which point I was going to apply for a variance and hopefully discuss sustainability and what Brooklyn, Seattle, and Portland are doing in their much larger cities in regards to livestock, and actually how their board of supervisors are encouraging it, but then found this: (See line 648) http://www.co.henrico.va.us/planning/minutes/bza/may04bza.pdf
So, I am reading this to mean I can have 3 chickens?
Also, nowhere can I find on the web site what the actual fines would be if I were to attempt such a transgression… do you happen to know offhand?
P.s. I plan on building a chicken tractor, which is an enclosed coop that you can move, and will just move it daily about the yard so that my garden soil is improved *while* removing the mosquitoes and ticks and weeds, and providing an educational experience and fresh eggs for our children. Curiously, I guess I could roll the chicken tractor around 400 feet at any given time… is there a law against mobile chickens? I am on very good terms with our immediate neighbors, who, like us, are avid gardeners and said they would not mind occasional free eggs. : )
Thanks for your insight!
From: Blankinship, Benjamin [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, May 07, 2008 12:44 PM
Cc: Knight, Mikki; Tuckahoe; Silber, Randy; Emerson, Ralph; O'Kelly, David
Subject: RE: hens in Henrico?
Dear Ms. Casati:
I have been asked to respond to your email on behalf of Ms. O'Bannon.
The zoning ordinance allows "poultry raising," subject to the requirement that "any buildings or yards for the enclosure or feeding of animals or poultry shall observe the distance requirements of section 24-10." (Section 24-11(c)). If you could comply with the distance requirement of 400 feet from the property line, you could keep hens on the property. Since the property measures about 100 feet wide by 150 feet deep, it is impossible to meet the distance requirements.
You mentioned applying for a variance. The Virginia Supreme Court recently ruled that boards of zoning appeals can grant variances only in circumstances where the zoning ordinance prohibits all reasonable use of the property (Cochran v Fairfax County BZA). The Henrico County Board of Zoning Appeals has taken a strict view of its powers since the _Cochran_ decision. I would be very surprised if the BZA granted a variance in these circumstances.
You asked about fines. The amounts of fines are determined by the court. I believe the following guidelines are applicable:
Any such violation shall be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $10 nor more than $1,000. If the violation is uncorrected at the time of the conviction, the court shall order the violator to abate or remedy the violation in compliance with the zoning ordinance, within a time period established by the court. Failure to remove or abate a zoning violation within the specified time period shall constitute a separate misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine of not less than $10 nor more than $1,000, and any such failure during any succeeding 10-day period shall constitute a separate misdemeanor offense for each 10-day period punishable by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,500. (Code of
If you need anything else, please let us know.
Benjamin W. Blankinship, AICP
Zoning Division Manager