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Ordinance woes, any advise how to walk around them  RSS feed

 
Posts: 79
Location: Minnesota, zone 4, loamy sand
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Forked, in order not to litter it, from the topic Interesting land where I was mentioning to a soon to be land owner Christopher Colwell the perils of having a public waterway on your property, and Kyrt Ryder suggested a workaround which may or may not work.

I have 3 acres in Wright county, Minnesota, where I can do all horticulture I want, but not keep animals because feedlot ordinance prohibits them 300 feet from the stream, 150 feet from the road, and 100 feet from the property boundary, which leaves me about 200 square feet for the chicken coop.
To make matters worse, farm animals are not allowed on the parcels less than 4 acres, but my neighbor owns a 1 acre adjacent outlot and did not reject an idea of leasing it out to me.
To my surprise, there may be unexpected ways around that.

Kyrt Ryder wrote:
Don't forget the pet loophole on a property this size. Having a few pet sheep or goats [who happen to reproduce every year and are mob grazed in small moveable pens] is totally an option.



Suddenly, the idea of pet chicken felt totally normal, but no, those people in the county council thought of that.

Livestock shall include those animals listed in Section 302(3)b except for dogs, cats and rabbits as domestic pets


(also can't have more than 3 dogs, or else it's a kennel.)

Kyrt Ryder wrote:
Also, you're not a feedlot. Don't have an exclusive enclosure in the restricted space and you don't violate the restriction.



Now, that's an interesting idea, but I am afraid the following text leaves me little wiggle room:

5.018 Feedlot, Animal
A lot or building or combination of lots and buildings intended for the confined feeding,
breeding, raising or holding of animals and specifically designed as a confinement area in
which manure may accumulate, or where the concentration of animals is such that a
vegetative cover cannot be maintained within the enclosure.
Pastures shall not be considered animal feedlots under these rules.



I am afraid chicken house is a confined holding space, isn't it?

What especially ticks me off is:

Fish farms [aquaculture] shall be considered feedlots for the purposes of this Ordinance.



I was particularly considering aquaponics.
If I understand it, their concern with animals is manure, public health issues what might occur because of that, and runoff to the stream, and also nuisance; but fish in aquaponic system do not create any of that, do they?
Besides, how can anyone possibly know what I have in a 4000 gallon tank in the greenhouse?

References:
Wright County Feedlot Ordinance
Wright County Zoning Ordinance
 
Posts: 90
Location: Minnesota
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Having chickens or other animals that range around your property is not a feedlot. Note in the definition "where the concentration of animals is such that a vegetative cover cannot be maintained within the enclosure" So as long as you are able to maintain the vegetation you do not have a feedlot.

Also look at the last part of your definition "Pastures shall not be considered animal feedlots under these rules."

So according to these definitions you do not have a feed lot. You have Pastures.

Now you need to look at the zoning definitions of livestock kept on pasture.

There is no way that Write county has stricter rules then Scott county. So I am sure you can find a way to have some animals on your property.
 
Bernard Welm
Posts: 90
Location: Minnesota
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Here are the steps to check on things.

1) what zone is your property? at 3 acres I am guessing it will be Agriculture or Rural Residential.

2) Check what Animal Units you are allowed to have in that zone.

3) Check what the requirements are for those animal units.


This will let you know what animals are considered allowable on your property. As long as you are not doing CONFINED housing (bringing all the food to the animals) you are not doing a feed lot. So don't worry about those regulations. Just look at the agricultural regulations that apply to your zone.



- SInce you have 3 acre I am guessing you are not in an urban area. Quick look at the codes you linked state that anything under 10 acres (in agricultural land will be treated as R2)

in the R2 codes it states
606. SUBURBAN RESIDENTIAL R-2
606.1 Purpose
The major purpose of this District is to allow for a "rural life-style" by permitting low-density residential development in areas that are marginal or non-feasible for agriculture.
606.2 Permitted Uses
Single family detached residences Any agricultural land use already existing at the time of subdivision Forestry. Nurseries, excluding greenhouses Public Recreation Solar Energy Systems ten (10) kilowatts and under
606.3 Accessory Uses
Garages Fences Gardening and other horticultural uses where no sale of products is conducted on the site Decorative landscape features such as statues, rocks, reflecting ponds and benches Recreation Equipment
Livestock, poultry, and animals subject to provisions of 714.2

See that 606.3 - it allows livestock etc.
Now to look at 714.2

714.2 Livestock and Animals
(1) In all Zoning Districts, livestock, poultry and farm animals shall not be allowed on any lots or parcels smaller than 4 acres. On lots larger than 4 acres in the A/R, R-1, R-2, R2(a), R-3, S-1, S-2, S-3 and W districts, animals shall be allowed at a maximum density of 1/2 animal unit per acre. Parcels in the A/R District and all Residential Districts are limited to less than 10 animal units total regardless of acreage. These restrictions shall not apply to normal farm operations existing prior to the adoption of this ordinance or to farms in the AG District on parcels over 10 acres in size. Livestock shall include those animals listed in Section 302(3)b except for dogs, cats and rabbits as domestic pets.

So this is the hardest part for you to get around. If you can show what you are trying to do will not impact anyone else in the area you could try for a variance to the code allowing you some smaller number of Animal units (depending on what has been set as a precedence in the area) and what won't effect the people around you. You likely could get away with 1/2 - 1 Animal unit (think one full grown Cow). But you would likely need to have some good plans on what you are trying to do. If you are really in a rural area getting a variance like this should not be too hard to do. Also check into what the code enforcement people say about having chickens. There may be a way to have chickens within their rules (chickens being less then 25 and possibly less then that). You will have to show that you are not going to impact any of the people in the area though.


 
pollinator
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@Seva T: " ....farm animals are not allowed on the parcels less than 4 acres"

Seva, could you please point me to that clause in the county code? Thanks.

As for the rest of it, and in addition to what Bernard W. indicated, do you have your 3 acres fenced? Are you in a subdivision or is your property a 3 acre parcel surrounded by field/prairie/forest (in addition to the stream)? It's not a sure thing, but maybe investigate something called a "conditional use permit" as a work-around...(?) Bernard's observations are the ones I would use as argument for your ventures.
 
Bernard Welm
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John,

I just posted the relevant sections of the code (that I found quickly).
 
Seva Tokarev
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Thank you, Bernard!

Looks to me that some Wright county rules are stricter than the mostly urban Hennepin's.

Bernard Welm wrote:
1) what zone is your property? at 3 acres I am guessing it will be Agriculture or Rural Residential.


It's A/R, but performance standards require minimal 10 acre lot size; so it's a PUD, and the rules for similarly sized R2 apply, as you correctly suggested.

Bernard Welm wrote:
2) Check what Animal Units you are allowed to have in that zone.


Per 714.2 you quoted, it's 1/2 animal unit per acre, so 1.5 AU in all.

Bernard Welm wrote:
3) Check what the requirements are for those animal units.



The only think I can find right now is this Summary, which has chicken at 0.03-0.05 AU, sheep at 0.1 AU, and goat not listed.
I recall seeing something about unlisted animals rated at 1 AU for 1000 pounds.

Bernard Welm wrote:
As long as you are not doing CONFINED housing (bringing all the food to the animals) you are not doing a feed lot.



What concerns me is that they always speak of the animals, even pets, in the context of a feedlot, as if one implied the other.
And in the winter, aren't those chicken confined in a building, and doesn't that mean feedlot by their definition?
 
Posts: 944
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Seva Tokarev wrote:And in the winter, aren't those chicken confined in a building, and doesn't that mean feedlot by their definition?


Don't choose a breed that needs to be confined in a building in the winter. Sure they'll come back to their mobile coup at night, but that coup moves throughout the property distributing the manure, and they're only in it overnight.
 
Seva Tokarev
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John Weiland wrote:
Seva, could you please point me to that clause in the county code? Thanks.
As for the rest of it, and in addition to what Bernard W. indicated, do you have your 3 acres fenced? Are you in a subdivision or is your property a 3 acre parcel surrounded by field/prairie/forest (in addition to the stream)? It's not a sure thing, but maybe investigate something called a "conditional use permit" as a work-around...(?) Bernard's observations are the ones I would use as argument for your ventures.



Bernard already quoted it, it's section 714.2 of the Zoning Ordinance, "livestock, poultry and farm animals".
About 1/4 to 1/3 acre (the vegetable garden) is being fenced, put the posts but not yet the wire.
It's a former hay field, recently subdivided into 2- to 4-acre parcels, most of which now have dwellings on them.
No fields immediately adjacent to me, but plenty withing half mile. Township hall is across the road.
Speaking with county clerk over the phone, she advised me that "you can apply for conditional use permit, but it will likely be rejected".
 
Seva Tokarev
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Kyrt Ryder wrote:Don't choose a breed that needs to be confined in a building in the winter. Sure they'll come back to their mobile coup at night, but that coup moves throughout the property distributing the manure, and they're only in it overnight.



Hmm, in our parts, subzero daily high temperatures can last for days, -30°F is not out of the question, and the property may be covered with a foot or two of snow for months.
I definitely need to learn much more about chicken and their breeds before I try keeping them.
The idea of letting the chicken out for the entire winter had never occurred to me.
 
Bernard Welm
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Kyrt Ryder wrote:

Seva Tokarev wrote:And in the winter, aren't those chicken confined in a building, and doesn't that mean feedlot by their definition?


Don't choose a breed that needs to be confined in a building in the winter. Sure they'll come back to their mobile coup at night, but that coup moves throughout the property distributing the manure, and they're only in it overnight.



Being in Minnesota that won't work quite that well with all the snow we get.

That said - it still is not a feedlot if you give them enough room for a run (remember able to maintain the cover cropping in the definition for feedlot).
 
Kyrt Ryder
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Bernard Welm wrote:

Kyrt Ryder wrote:

Seva Tokarev wrote:And in the winter, aren't those chicken confined in a building, and doesn't that mean feedlot by their definition?


Don't choose a breed that needs to be confined in a building in the winter. Sure they'll come back to their mobile coup at night, but that coup moves throughout the property distributing the manure, and they're only in it overnight.



Being in Minnesota that won't work quite that well with all the snow we get.


So build it high on wide wheels or better yet build tank-style treads for it.
 
Bernard Welm
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Seva Tokarev wrote:

John Weiland wrote:
About 1/4 to 1/3 acre (the vegetable garden) is being fenced, put the posts but not yet the wire.
It's a former hay field, recently subdivided into 2- to 4-acre parcels, most of which now have dwellings on them.
No fields immediately adjacent to me, but plenty withing half mile. Township hall is across the road.
Speaking with county clerk over the phone, she advised me that "you can apply for conditional use permit, but it will likely be rejected".



I think this is where you may have the most issues. You are living in a "subdivision" as a result more of the residential rules will apply.

Now to get around them - Since the Township hall is across the road - go to a meeting and talk to them about getting a conditional use permit. or just keeping chickens or other small animals. Does it fit the characteristics of the area? (it might not since it is a subdivision). Ask the township if they would be willing to sponsor a township bylaw supporting small animals on the properties (go for 1/2 an Animal unit) assuming the area is mostly agriculture they may go for it.

 
pollinator
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Our land is deed-restricted against feedlots. Our rancher neighbor across the road, not part of this land division, has a feedlot for cattle. Some of the rest of us have critter paddocks and critter houses but not feedlots. A chicken coop is not a feedlot.
 
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