Friday, August 24, 2012

Yeah, that Land Use Meeting...

This is an extremely long and informative post for those
who have been following our chicken saga.
I had said I would be going to the next county land use meeting
on the second Tuesday of August
to formally request that the committee leaders pursue lowering the cost of the chicken permit fee
and reclassify it as a recreational fee instead of a special use permit
 (which costs approximately $1000).
Throughout this whole process,
even when I was totally disgusted at the neighbor and the county over this issue,
I was still pretty confident we could get our hens back by October.
I was not afraid at all.
We have done nothing wrong.
I was absolutely certain St. Joseph, patron saint of the home, had my back on this one;
he would watch over what was going on and help us through it.
Little did I know...
The meeting would not go well.
Not only do they refuse to lower the fee,
some county workers immediately recommended upping it.
Their argument is that our unincoporated county's 'special use fee'
is progressive compared to other counties,
who charge twice as much.
The caveat is that nearby municipalities charge nothing at all
I guess having chickens is on par with strip clubs because if I was opening one
of those, I would have to go through the same process of mailings,

a sign in my yard, and two court hearings.
One worker in particular, stated that he would demand
(after chicken fees were paid in full and permitted),
a coop with a minimum $50 building permit fee - depending on the type of structure-
and that it would have to have an approved 90 mph wind-resistant roof.
please tell me,
how many of you have a 90 mph wind-resistant roof
on your own residence

(I do not.  Mine is like 60.  Not the top of the line,

but good enough for us right now).
That's the wind power that causes severe damage when trees come down.
Only Tom Weigel, the Land Use Chairman, was of any help-
with his farming experience at hand, he asked them to all lower it to fifty bucks.
The rest of the hungry committee pounced on him and railroaded it,
and, since Tom seems to be a soft-spoken guy,
I can read the writing on the wall.  They WON'T lower it.
It just isn't going to happen for us.
If even one person comes to protest at a hearing,
we could be denied and not get our money refunded.
I did get to speak, though they didn't want me to.
I reminded them that they (the county) got the federal grant for $100,000
to pass new zoning regulations (that included many updates like wind turbines,

but also included chickens)
to advertise Will County as sustainable to developers, but now they won't let
working families in semi-rural areas partake in it without bending over for their 'new rules.'
Instead, they got a $100,000 grant so they can make money hand over fist
as people come to apply for a chicken permit (or hopefully they will 'just go away'
for them because of all the trouble it involves).
One county official had the nerve to tell us that he
{spends too much time dealing with chicken matters on the phone and doing research.}
It was great to remind him in person that he is a government worker
who works for the people
on their dollar
and that he shouldn't be complaining to county residents that he's "spending too much time" on
issues we care about, especially since many residents are unemployed and would
be happy to have a posh job at the county.
They all smirked and wrote notes for each other as I spoke,
because that's what your government workers do, folks.

I feel like I'm in Communist Poland and they're trying to make me pay

for a high tech roof with architectural shingles

on a coop for a chicken, and wait I have to let them come and count our 4 hens.


But THANK YOU TOM WEIGEL, for reminding them they are
on salary, not hourly commission,
and that they get paid no matter what work they get done (or not).

And I don't mind saying these things because it's all public record

and videotaped for youtube anyway.
Well, I for one will be at the election box in November to make some checks
on who is running for re-election to county board.
And I cannot express to you
how sick I have been over all of this...
I know people have far worse problems in life

so I'm trying not to be so sad because then I make myself feel guilty that I have no right

to be unhappy or feel beaten by injustice.

I have a hard time contolling my bitterness over it and sometimes that's the worst part.
We are very lucky to all be healthy.
No matter what happens we will be okay, I just have to be willing to hand this over.

I have to trust in God that this is all going to work out in the end...somehow.
But it has hurt us very deeply...
to the point where hard lines are drawn in the sand.

SO, we have made the decision
to save the money we would use to fight this and
instead use it as a down payment on another home, zoned agricultural.
Chickens will stay at Grandma's, for now (or indefinitely).
And enter St. Joseph again, although not as I originally intended
(now for help and guidance in moving).
We have already completed a market appraisal.
It may take a year.  Or five.
We have the upcoming winter to begin to prepare for what may come.


awal.ny said...

How horrible for you. Yes the government large and small tend to do what they want and unless a majority stands up against them that is how it will stay. Good luck on your move.

Prims By The Water said...

So sorry to hear this bad news..was hoping things would go your way. I am always reminded of a saying my dad always use to say. When God closes a window, he always leaves a door open...maybe you moving is your door in this instance..find a new place for your hens and get them away from your horrible neighbor. Take care, Janice

Anita said...

Aww sweetie I am so sorry to hear this! Sending you good thoughts for whatever the future may hold for you.

Pam said...

No way! That is ridiculous. so sorry to hear that they are being butt holes. Maybe all with work out for the best in the end. You can move somewhere where you can have your chickens and maybe even get some goats and other animals also.

Deanne said...

That sucks- what stupid rules!
Move to Australia- we don't have silly rules like that over chickens, though we do probably have other silly rules over other things- but not chickens!

Cheree @ The Morning Latte said...

This is just all so ridiculous! I do agree, tho--maybe this is God's way of opening another door. Sometimes all He is waiting for is for us to just give in and say, "Yes, You know best--You're will be done." And then all of the sudden everything works out! Good luck to you and prayers for all your decisions in the months to come. I know none of it will be easy. St. Joseph, pray for us!

NanaDiana said...

Andrea- That is just the most assinine thing I have ever heard of (and YES I know there is only one S in asinine-just considering the source). I am so sorry that you are having to deal with this. What an absolute joke. We live inside the city limits and even we can have chickens if we choose. It is just crazy. Good for you for standing up and stating your truth. I am proud of you. It is NEVER easy to do that-especially when you know beforehand that you are going to be ridiculed. Have a good cry...or kick something...and then move forward with your plan. xo Diana

ps...stink bomb your neighbor's house on your way out...

Debra @ Common Ground said...

OK, this just stinks, but glad you were able to speak out about it. If you'd like to knock some heads together just call me.

Grandma Barb's This and That said...

Andrea, I'm so sorry you are going through all this. It stinks. But maybe things will work out so that you can get that acreage with a barn that you so long for.
I loved NanaDiana's p.s.!

Cloudy said...

Da kann ich mich den Kommentaren nur anschließen, einfach lächerlich das ganze...

Lieben Gruß

Ann from On Sutton Place said...

Good heavens Andrea these people you are dealing with are flippin' ignorant. I'm so sorry you have to move. I do know that God works in mysterious ways. Maybe this move will lead you to what he has planned for you next. A better place with room for you to grow. Hang in and keep your chin up.

Anonymous said...

It is because of incidents like yours that good and reasonable people are leaving their towns and even their states to go somewhere else with sensible and fair-minded local governments. What you and your family are going through is ridiculous. I wish that the you-tube video of your exchange with your city council would go viral so that they could be publicly shamed. I wish you all the best in the future. I hope that hell's angels move into your soon-to-be former home.

Donna said...

This post makes me so sad. It sounds like they are making up the rules as they go along. I'm glad you stood your ground and spoke your piece. The thing that bothers me the most is that they didn't listen to you with respect, but rather made notes and smirked while you were trying to state your case. Perhaps they won't be smirking in the future if a lot of November voters choose smaller government. I wish you much luck with everything. It sounds as though your feathered friends are in good hands, so at least that is one less thing to worry about :) My thoughts are with you... Donna

Anonymous said...

You don't have an attorney? S/he'd be cheaper than that fee they want.

I don't blame you for being ready to move. But I bet a rubber chicken float in a local parade would get attention. Just don't let on what your plans are....LOL
Oh, I can imagine THAT going viral. Where is this miserable town, anyway?

Anonymous said...

Does this post below make you feel any better?
Will County is in Illinois. Somehow I expected that, given the craziness in that part of the political world lately.

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