Before we bought the farm, we called to make sure that our zoning allowed chickens. It is in a very rural part of the county, outside of city limits. We were told that we could have chickens — sure, everyone has chickens in that part of the county!
We bought the farm & began renovations. Things were going wonderfully until we decided to check the zoning laws for pigs (we had spoken to good friends of ours at church one day & decided it might be kind of cool to try raising a couple in the far end of our lot).
In pulling up the zoning laws, we were shocked to find that some changes had taken place last year & we weren’t even allowed to have chickens, much less anything else.
I immediately called our zoning director & was told that our area seemed to be zoned strangely. Our rural, country area was zoned RD (Residential Multi-family Development) – which is one of the most restrictive zones for a property. No farm animals – not even an outside dog is allowed. What IS allowed, however is urban development – townhouses, condos, projects, and quite a few businesses. It’s sole purpose is to cultivate urban development.
After several discussions with our zoning director and local district representative, we decided to go forward with the rezoning process to a much more appropriate zoning – AP (Agricultural Preservation). The goal of AP is to preserve the rural environment from urban encroachment.
Steve and I went door to door, meeting our new neighbors, telling them about what we’d found & encouraging them to attend the town meeting. Some showed, some didn’t. The ones who did were vocal. The few we hadn’t met didn’t understand that to “keep things the same,” the zoning would have to change. Thankfully, our district representative and zoning director both realized what the majority wanted was to keep the integrity of our rural neighborhood by rezoning to AP.
This process may (if we’re lucky) only take four months. We are up for the challenge. And actually rather thankful that we’re going through this. Without this hurdle, we wouldn’t have met our neighbors. Without this, we wouldn’t have realized what incredibly impressive, creative, hard working, fun, generous neighbors we have. So regardless of how things turn out, we are grateful that it has led us to where we are now.