How do I try to change a zoning ordinance?

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How do I try to change a zoning ordinance?

I wanted to get chickens but ordinance states livestock and wild animals are allowed in township if you have 5 acres. I have a little over 1 acre but chickens are allowed in the city with no restrictions. The definition of chicken is domestic fowl, so I don’t feel that chickens should fall under this ordinance. I’m speaking at township meeting on this 4-12-11.

Asked on April 1, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Michigan

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You cannot get an ordinance changed unilaterally per se. Just because the chicken is defined as domestic fowl does not mean it is also not considered livestock. Speaking to town officials might help but you should explore the option of seeking a variance or exception to the law through your zoning and planning boards.  Variances are usually (by showing hardship and other criteria) the way residents obtain their requests without having to campaign to change the laws. You may find there is an absolute reason the law limits to 5 acres and not simply 1. It could be a health issue; it could be a quiet peace and enjoyment issue for others around you so as not to cause nuisances.  Do some research into the history and notes regarding the chicken legislation and you may find the reasons and issues outlined to help you in your endeavor before the township in mid-April.


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