What can happen if someone violates zoning restrictions? What punishment from the government is that person risking?

If I am reading these laws correctly, it sounds like backyard chickens are not allowed on RC-zoned properties in Coweta County, Georgia, if the property is under a certain size. In order for a "pen for housing or confining animals" to be "100 ft from all property lines", the property would need to be at least 0.92 acres.

If someone on a lot smaller than that had chickens, how much trouble could they get in? Would it make a difference if the chicken pen was movable and was moved every day? Would it make a difference if they were treated more like pets than livestock?

Sec 72

The following uses are allowed in any RC district, subject to the further provisions of this ordinance:


  1. Noncommercial agricultural uses, including poultry, horses and livestock raising, as an accessory use to a single-family dwelling for the principal benefit of the occupants thereof. Noncommercial agricultural uses, at a minimum shall meet the following:

(a) All related accessory buildings, pens or corrals, for housing or confining animals, or for storing feed or equipment, or for similar purposes shall be located at least 100 feet from all property lines and 200 feet from any existing off-site residential dwelling.

(b) The lot/parcel shall be of adequate size to accommodate the 200-foot setback as specified in [subsection] 2(a).

(c) The grazing area shall be maintained in viable grasses and herbages to reduce erosion and prevent unsanitary conditions. The grazing area is the area of the parcel/lot wherein livestock are confined for the purpose of feeding on growing grasses and herbages.

(d) The lot/parcel shall comply with any local, state, federal, or other laws regarding livestock.

  • I'm new to this site, so I don't know a lot about what constitutes good or bad questions here. Why the down votes? How can I improve this question? Thanks! Commented Apr 18 at 14:57

2 Answers 2


Violation of zoning is usually handled by enforcing compliance. Typically, violating constructions are ordered to be torn down or otherwise made compliant with zoning or safety codes, animals are forced to be relocated or collected by animal control. In the example location, Coweta County, Georgia, Code of Ordinance, Appendix A: Zoning and Development, Section 301 is detailing that they can enforce compliance atop any other punishment:

Sec. 301. - Remedies.

If any building or structure is constructed, reconstructed, altered, repaired, converted, or if any building, structure or land is used in violation of this ordinance, the board of commissioners of Coweta County, the building official, the director, or any other appropriate county authority, or any adjacent property owner who would be damaged by such violation, in addition to other remedies, may institute an injunction, mandamus or other appropriate action in proceeding to stop the violation in the case of such building, structure or land use.

Atop that, each day until compliance is achieved can result in a hefty fine.


Fines of up to $1,000 per day

Which, unless you are running a lot of chickens, is considerably more than the value of the eggs.

The fines are spelled out in Section 300.

  • It is worth noting that Coweta County, Georgia is actually lenient in this regard. Most localities in the U.S. authorize incarceration for something in the range of up to three months to up to a year (for each day of a violation) for zoning law violations in addition to the fine remedy of Section 300 and the specific performance remedy of Section 301 in Coweta County.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Apr 17 at 21:11

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