Planning Board & the annoying neighbors UPDATE 5/26/2011 Happy Ending!


10 Years
May 11, 2009
Chautauqua County, NY
2nd article in local newspaper: Link to Article

Update 2/9/2011: Go to page 11 post #110 to see why.


Please excuse me while I rant but I need to say this and this is the best place for it I think.

The Back Story:

My family owns 13.60 acres of land in Upstate, NY on a peninsula into Lake Champlain known as Cumberland Head, most people in our area think of Cumberland Head as a "rich" area and for the most part that is correct. The land my mother owns though is behind a lower-middle class subdivision known as Champlain Park, which is where both myself and my mother grew up. Just this past summer we started getting some animals and putting them on this property which I have listed below. We also have chicken but they are not at the property yet.

2 Pigs - 1 grown and 1 piglet
2 Shetland Sheep
1 Hair Sheep
1 Pygmy Goat Buck
3 Alpine Goats - 2 females 1 male

While we knew (or thought we knew) that we could have animals on the property, what we latter found out was that we needed a variance UPDATE (not true now they say we don't, that we just need an aproved site plan) to build a barn because there was not already a permanent structure on the property. We only live 5 minutes away and my dad lives right next to the property, so we figured we had a good enough reason for wanting to use the property while not actually living on it.


Tonight was the variance hearing.... while I believe it would of went through had not one lady stood up and said that according to a deed from the 1950's there is a covenant on the property saying it may not be used for agricultural purposes. So the board tabled the issue until next month pending a title search or i.e. (because title searches cost so much) me going down to the county office and back tracing our deed (something I am very familiar doing because of my work in real estate).

So this sucks, but it is reasonable and it is not what has me so ticked I nearly started crying during the meeting. (I cry when I get SUPER mad, I could be grieving the lost of my favorite grandparent and not shed a tear but I get mad and trigger the water works) What ticked me off was the this old lady who lives NO WHERE near our property sent around a petition against us having the animals, which is not what this zoning appeal was for, it is for us building a structure while not already having a permanent residence already on the property. The Zoning board can't do anything about the animals we are allowed farm animals as long as we have at least 7 acres (unless this covenant on the land is true). Apparently this lady made it seem like we are starting some kind of agri-business or large scale pig farm!
Which is not correct, we want to start a small scale sustainable family farm raising pasture poultry, some pigs and a large vegetable gardens and sell what we raise and grow to the local community. We want to improve the community not destroy it!!!!

So we had a bunch of people we though that didn't care about us owning the animals at the meeting saying how we were going to ruin their quality of life and enjoyment of their property! That the smell was going to be horrible and that we were going to be contaminating the lake with run off and blah blah blah AHHHHHHHHH

I was SOOOOO mad I was shaking! for Christ sake I use to be an Ecology major I am not going to be ruining the environment I am going to be improving it by providing local food for these ignorant mentally challenged busy bodies! But I can't really blame them it is the fault of the 2 busy-body old hags that have nothing better to do then pester the neighborhood, that spread these untruths about what we planned to do. All they had to do was one day while we where out in the field feeding the animals was to stop and ASK us what our plans were instead of spreading this toxic gossip about our plans!!!!

Errr so now we have to wait ANOTHER month before we can build our barn (if we can at all) and it's getting cold out. So the hubby is building smaller shelters for them until then, even though technically we are not allowed to even have them, but they need something to protect them from the cold.

Thanks for listening to my rant - I now must type up a letter to send to all the neighbors explaining what our REAL plans are for the field.
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I don't guess you can blame them. All they hear in the media is how agribusiness is killing the they think ALL animals kill the environment.
A handfull of critters for one family is not the huge poo pile that a pig farm is, but people only think "poop = contamination"
These people are probably also the ones that want local food, but then they don't want to see a small farm in their area! They can't have it both ways. The one thing we have going for us though is that our town recently published their yearly planning recommendations and suggested they make it easier for small farm to start up in the community to support CSA farming.
There always at least one person who's going to complain....never fails. I wish you the best in trying to convince everyone that this is not 'Three Mile Island.'
Yeah, I don't consider two... or even five a "pig farm"... same with goats, cows... etc.

Do they also consider anyone who has two dogs to be a pet store?

Gotta wonder about some of these people's noggins... really you do.
I do plan on breeding my pigs so yeah at one point during the year there is going to be quite a few, but only for 6mth while they grow to butcher weight. The Alpines are for milk for ourselves and I do plan on getting quite a few chickens for eggs and meat but they will be pasture raised so the smell will be minimal. The sheep and the pygmy goat are pets, they were really cheap and we couldn't resist. The Pygmy and Hair sheep were in pretty bad shape cause the owners, while they loved them, couldn't care for them. The Shetlands were about to become dinner for someone and they are so cute and sweet I couldn't imagine ever eating them. So they are more like rescues then actual animals I bought for farming purposes.
I'd write up a definite plan, something the board can have in hand, and get pics of what's there now... show that those animals that are there are in immediate need of shelter before full on winter kicks in. Really irresponsible/neglectful of them to put something like that off with first frost hitting any day. And, as you said, what does a board in charge of a building license have anything to do with that anyways... see if you can find where in the books it shows who does handle that... maybe if they have that segment to refer to they can tell the busybodies that it isn't their job, take it up with Bob, and go ahead and get your building approved.

For You Guys!
Can you have a non-permanent structure? A small barn (12x16) on skids is what I have. It was moved here by a flatbed truck. No need for a permit as it is a non permanent structure. Might be something to check into. A way around the busy bodies.

I respect the idea. It often works. I have a neighbor that was not allowed to add a nice RV cover to his house, so he ended up putting up a rather ugly non-permanent cover. I wish that that i had known this earlier, I would have rather had the permanent cover that the non-permanent cover.

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