'Grandfathered' laws are reasonable
Question: My neighbor has a lot of roosters. The Land Use Law Ordinance says only two fowl are allowed in a Country District, but if the property owner had a license for a chicken farm before 1996 when the zoning changed from Agriculture to Country District, the roosters are legal. The City's Planning Department determined the owner could keep the roosters under the grandfathered laws. Where do we find these laws? Also, does this law apply to covenants that haven't been enforced for more than 20 years? One of the covenants states no "livestock or poultry of any kind shall be raised, bred or kept on said premises."
Answer: While "grandfather" laws aren't a separate area of the law, some newer laws are said to "grandfather" certain pre-existing situations to avoid inequitable results. If your neighbor had more chickens than was allowed by the new ordinance, then it is reasonable that he be "grandfathered" in to keep his existing chickens, but it would be unreasonable to allow him to replace the chickens as they die to maintain that number.
Real Covenants are a different subject. They are enforceable interests in land that one party grants to another and are recorded and appear in deeds as restrictions on the property. An aggrieved party may sue for relief or money damages. Regardless, a real covenant, between parties, to allow a condition that is unlawful, is void despite the fact it meets all requirements for a valid covenant. But if the covenant disallows something that is otherwise lawful, then the covenant controls and is enforceable. So despite the fact that your neighbor had been grandfathered to allow him to keep his chickens, if he has been replacing the chickens through the years, it's possible you can prevent him from raising chickens via enforcement of the real covenant (if his deed has the same restriction). Assuming the facts you state are accurate, the only reason he is still allowed to have chickens is because the covenants haven't been enforced. Finally, if the chickens constitute a nuisance (as defined), enforcement can also be sought under Chap. 7, Article 2 of the Honolulu Revised Ordinances.
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