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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:17 pm 
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Showy Hen
Showy Hen

Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:23 pm
Posts: 174
Location: Narre Warren South, Melbourne
I'm hoping someone who has been in a similar situation can advise the best course of action, please.

I have had my Pekin rooster for around 2 years. He is very well behaved, does not crow very often at all, is housed indoors until after 9.30am each day & is boxed at night. I also have one neighbour (of the 6 who adjoin our property) who is one of "those" people - we have had ongoing issues with her attempting to threaten, bully & harass us over a variety of issues (I have no idea why as I pretty much don't have anything to do with her). She also acts in the same manner to others in the area.

When we realised our roo was a boy, we let her know straight away & urged her to let us know if he ever became a problem (after all...crowing in the burbs can cause problems). She reassured us all was well. None of our neighbours seem to have an issue with him. etc etc etc.

Anyhow...earlier this year, someone decided to make a complaint to the Council about him (he'd been there well over a year by that stage & no one had ever told me he was a problem...& yes, I have asked all my neighbours on multiple occaisons. On reflection, this was soon after our Council changed the bylaws regarding keeping roosters in the area (prior to this, there were no laws...they changed the law with virtually no public consultation so that you could only keep 5 hens on an area 4000sqm or less & no roosters without a permit). This was, of course, the first time I had heard there was an issue about him - no one had expressed any issues about him. The Council chose not to do anything about it except inform me of the complaints. The complaints kept happening (from the same person...she also got a relative who lives too far away to hear him to complain as well). Eventually the Council told me I would need to apply for a permit so it looked like they were doing something to deal with the problem.

Now...the permit application fee is non refundable. So...yet again...I went & talked to all my other neighbours (& others as well) to see if there were any problems with our roo. All said he was fine. All said they would support the application. However, I have found out today (a month after I submitted the application) that the permit has been declined (although they "tried to meet you halfway by granting 10 chickens to live on the property"). The officer didn't seem to know the exact reasons why. The first I knew about them declining the permit was when they came to my doorstep this afternoon asking me to rehome him to Miyuna Farm (so I can go visit him, apparently...sigh), or dispose of him, or rehome him myself. Initially they wanted a decision then & there but have now given me 24 hours to make a decision - they said they will call me tomorrow.

I should point out, the Council have only just changed the information on their website to reflect the change in the bylaws. The bylaws were changed with what appears to be very limited & inadequate public discussion. My roo was there before the laws were changed. All my neighbours are happy with him - it's just one person kicking up a fuss (& she has always been a problem - recently she even threatened me...I've passed all her letters on to the Council). I understand that roos can be a problem but I fail to see why one person gets to dictate what happens to my pet...he is *not* just a chicken...he is as much loved as a dog or cat.

Can someone advise what I do from here, please? I have not been advised what my rights are re appeal, etc. My nice neighbour has suggested I appeal the decision but I don't know how to go about this (I'll ask them when they call tomorrow)...go to the media...etc.

To say I am devastated about this is an understatement. If other neighbours had an issue then it would be a completely different matter. But no one does. It's just one busybody making a nuisence of themselves. I'm so tired of having to deal with this crap all the time - my roo's wellbeing is just one notch in the ongoing saga.

Those that have had to appeal a decision like this (& anyone else who can suggest some things to mention)...what should I do & say, please? Thankyou for any help.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:01 pm 
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Fiesty Fowl
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Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 7:43 pm
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Location: Central Tasmania
When council rejects any application they are obliged to give 'Reasons for Decision' in writing when they advise you they have rejected it. That advice must also be in writing. This is a legal obligation, or if not, in the instance of permits for keeping birds, it is most certainly their obligation morally (natural justice). So if they have not done this, then it is they that are at fault.

Unless they have advised you in writing, then they may not take action to remove your poultry (again, 'natural justice'). If your keeping of poultry pre-existed the new bylaws, then you have a case for pre-existing activity and so can appeal on that basis. Particularly so if you can obtain written support from each of your neighbours, your fowls are in good health, well-maintained and housed properly. So, personally, I would be contacting my local councillor and explaining the situation and getting them to support you through the process.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:45 pm 
Yep my dad kept horses and cows on his 5 acre property when lego-land approached and surrounded his property. He was granted "existing useage rights". Thats all i know but may be worth looking into :wink:

Have you mentioned to council that there are methods used to stop a rooster crowing which you have employed to all of your neighbour's satisfaction?
I personally would go around with the application and watch every single neighbour sign it stating they are happy for you to keep the rooster. They said they would, so make them :nail:
Then if your rooster isnt a problem, then there isnt a problem surely :roll:
Good luck!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:08 pm 
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Wise One
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Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2009 2:42 pm
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Location: Canberra
hillbilly girl wrote:
When council rejects any application they are obliged to give 'Reasons for Decision' in writing when they advise you they have rejected it. That advice must also be in writing. This is a legal obligation, or if not, in the instance of permits for keeping birds, it is most certainly their obligation morally (natural justice). So if they have not done this, then it is they that are at fault.

Unless they have advised you in writing, then they may not take action to remove your poultry (again, 'natural justice'). If your keeping of poultry pre-existed the new bylaws, then you have a case for pre-existing activity and so can appeal on that basis. Particularly so if you can obtain written support from each of your neighbours, your fowls are in good health, well-maintained and housed properly. So, personally, I would be contacting my local councillor and explaining the situation and getting them to support you through the process.



I agree with hillbilly. The council have to provide you with the reason for rejecting your application and provide you with the appropriate information on how to appeal.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 8:57 pm 
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Prime Pekin
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Location: Melbourne CBD fringe
Good luck Epiphany - I know the feeling of loving your roo like a pet dog or cat as I am sure many on this forum also do. I really hope you get to keep him. At least you can potentially get a permit - we are denied even that in our council area. :x


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 11:39 pm 
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Proud Rooster
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:59 am
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How much did they charge you for the permit can I ask?

And why wasn't there any notifications to the public about these by law changes that have been made effective. Last time I read their website they said they had no limitations on poultry. I think all the people that bought poultry past the numbers allowed should be allowed to charge council costs for having to dispose of poultry they purchased out of their own pockets on the basis they had no limitations. That's money down the drain. I wonder how many other backyard poultry keepers will now be affected by this draconian ruling


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 12:51 am 
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Showy Hen
Showy Hen

Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:23 pm
Posts: 174
Location: Narre Warren South, Melbourne
Thanks so much for your replies. When the Council phone tomorrow I will be demanding info re appeals & will start that process.

Chookuns: I actually asked them earlier this year why the public weren't made aware of the change in the law or were consulted about it. They claim the proposed changes were on display in the Council offices during Nov last year but they got little public feedback (what a surprise!). Apparently this is considered adequate public consultation. I was not aware they were going to be changed. I never saw it advertised. In fact, the new bylaws have been in force since Feb this year but they have only just changed the info on the website (as of beginning of Oct, it was still the old page that stated no restrictions). I originally found out about the change through a friend & when I 1st phoned them up about it, no one had any idea what I was talking about (this was around Feb or March, I think?). It wasn't until my neighbour laid multiple complaints that they finally decided to insist I apply for a permit. As an aside, I was interested to notice the max number of poultry allowed on a block less than 4000sqm as stated on the website is actually different than that mentioned in the hard copy of their bylaws.

Cost of the permit for a year is around $85 or $87 (I can't check my bank records for the exact amount as the website is down). Non refundable with your application. My understanding is that this is possibly going up to around $120 per year as of next year. Given I pay $25 per year for my cat, I think this amount is insane but I was prepared to pay it if it meant my roo could stay.

Interestingly, I don't even know if their claim "you can keep 10 poultry on the property" means I now have a permit (& thus have to pay a fee each year) or if they're just letting me get away with it? I have no paperwork...nothing! Just the word of the two officers who turned up on my doorstep today. It's all very weird...


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:19 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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Location: St georges basin (NOWRA) nsw
They have to put it in writing or it means nothing.

You always have the right to appeal.

It sounds like the council has made many screw ups and you are not at fault. Go to your local member and kick up a stink!

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 5:08 am 
Your permit has an annual fee? :shock:
What do you get from the council for this money? Does this pay for a secretary to put all of the future complaints into the recycling bin? :roll:
Next thing you will need a permit and pay a fee to drive a Ford instead of a Holden.... i see no difference to them whether you have a dog or a chook in your back yard so long as your chook is as quiet as a barking dog.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 6:42 am 
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Dapper Duck
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Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2010 4:49 pm
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That makes me so angry, epiphany, I can't believe the size of that fee it's ridiculous. Is it per rooster? And every year too.
The only people it serves are the ones who sell eggs and chicken commercialy, a pekin whos boxed at night can't be keeping the neighbours awake unless you're sticking the box right under their bedroom window. :P


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 7:27 am 
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Site Administrator
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Location: Morayfield, SEQ
Our council is in the process of changing the laws here. In our case the new laws are not retrospective, which means that if you had a rooster before, yet the new laws say you can't, then you can keep your existing animal for the duration of it's life. You can't get new ones.

They can still ask you to remove animals based on complaints, I know, but I wonder if your council laws are similar. I would think that the fact that you've had the roo for two years, and that was prior to the law, would be a factor in your appeal. You could also get letters of support from your 'good' neighbours vouching for the low level of noise and the fact that he doesn't disturb them. You could also stress your willingness to add additional nightboxing facilities to stop crowing noise. Do you breed from him? If you do, you could put up the 'genetic biodiversity' argument and point out the Council's moral obligation to support the Interlaken agreement on Animal Genetic Resources.

Are you a member of a local poultry club that could help you? Taking on one lone resident may be easy for them, but taking on organised poultry club resistance may be a bigger factor for them. I don't know what's going on with clubs down there, but up here you could appeal to local clubs and join up for support.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:07 am 
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Gallant Game
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if the rest of your neighbours are ok with your boy then ask them for letters of support and take it to the council tell them that its a neighbour dispute ;)
thats how my neighbour got her biting damn dog back.
take it further by going to the newspaper with a nice pic of the boy and a story about how he is a pet etc, councils hate bad publicity.
Goodluck with it
HH

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:55 am 
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Proud Rooster
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ephiphany- Thanks for that info. You are in the same jurisdiction as I am, and I am annoyed as well for you and for how this is going to affect a lot of poultry owners in this very big council area. Casey has the largest population I believe. Personally I have spent hundreds of dollars and time making a suitable enclosure to hold the amount of chooks I feel suitable for our needs, and this notification in their council offices since November? Which council offices I wonder. It was not put up in the casey centro shopping centre shop which is a part of council and that is the only one I ever attend albeit not regularily as I do have a life. LOL

How many people can be expected to "reasonably" walk into council office each year to check on ammended bylaws? I think that it is unreasonable notification system

When roads are made they put notice in papers, new buildings, notices in papers. People get a chance to read these things, then offer objections. This smacks of them not wanting objections so they went ahead, stuck up notices in their offices apparently, where they knew it was likely few people would ever read it, so they could pass it just like that.

No consultation with the general public. well that sucks.

The permit fee is quite expensive really and if it has to be paid each year, well what a huge money grab that is, I suppose they are looking for ways to recoup the billions of dollars they are going to be forking out for the landfill gastip housing estate they stuffed up with initially.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:59 am 
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Proud Rooster
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:59 am
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Happyhenz wrote:
if the rest of your neighbours are ok with your boy then ask them for letters of support and take it to the council tell them that its a neighbour dispute ;)
thats how my neighbour got her biting damn dog back.
take it further by going to the newspaper with a nice pic of the boy and a story about how he is a pet etc, councils hate bad publicity.
Goodluck with it
HH



I think that is a fantastic idea. the local leader always looks for stories especially on council issues.


I'd like to see a lot of BYP ers and other poultry lovers, living in the casey council jurisdiction get together and make a petition against this b*, take it to council and get this looked into


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2010 9:25 am 
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Proud Rooster
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Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:59 am
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http://www.casey.vic.gov.au/consultation/?nav=tree


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