Posts Tagged ‘Solon’

I am SOOOOO happy to report, we just got word of the most recent zoning code amendments, that will soon head to city council for approval. It looks like they took our concerns seriously. And, although there are restrictions now, when previously there were no restrictions, in regards to agriculture and agricultural animals, we think the restrictions are fair, and well thought-out. Rob Franklin and the planning commission obviously took our suggestions to heart. And we wanted to thank them for that! So,

Thank you Solon Planning Commission for taking us seriously!

We had some doubts and you proved us wrong.

The current recommendations are not final. They have to be approved by the planning commission, and then head to the council, but I’m sure there will be no further detrimental changes to our cause.

A quick summary of the current code amendments include:

  • 3 chickens/10,000 sq ft for a max of 20 chickens, unless you have over 10 acres. (We don’t see a reason to have more than 20 chickens on a property like ours, so we’re cool with it.) They’ve banned roosters, which might have been something we would be interested in the future, but it’s a compromise we’re willing to accept. Roosters can be aggressive, so we understand their thought.
  • 1 goat, sheep, etc. per 1/2 acre, max. of 5, unless you have 10 or more acres. Again, we think this is fair, and won’t affect our long-term plans.
  • They included set-back requirements for animal houses, size limitations for animal housing, etc. All reasonable and understandable, both for respect to the neighbors, and health of the animals.
  • They specifically listed vegetable production as an accepted accessory use.

I’ll keep an eye out for any zingers that might be thrown in as the amendments head to city council, but we are VERY satisfied. That being said, we also owe YOU a huge Thank you! So many of you came to meetings, wrote letters, and made phone calls to support us. It warms my heart, and means more than words can say. So THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! We would never had such a success with the city if it weren’t for your support.

Viva La Chickens in Solon! 🙂

013

Thanks again!

Linde

Read Full Post »

Hello All! Apologizes for disappearing for months. Things have been slow around that farm this winter. And our summer harvest was kind of a flop because the deer demolished nearly all of our crops. We also lost 14 chickens in October to what we assume was a coyote, or two. Which leads me to the reason for my post, which is rather urgent in nature, especially for those of my readers whom live in Solon, Ohio.

I just caught wind of this article tonight:

http://www.cleveland.com/solon/index.ssf/2014/01/solon_planning_commission_deba.html

Essentially, Solon planning commission wants to make a bunch of changes to current zoning laws, to go on ballot in November. They had a public forum last Tuesday, which I didn’t go to, because I didn’t know about it!! I read the full details of the proposed zoning code amendments on the city website. Here’s the bullet points that affect us most:

  • They want to limit the number of chickens or ducks permitted to each household to two. TWO! Most places won’t even sell you two chickens. You usually have to buy 6 or more, since they’re, you know, FLOCK ANIMALS!! Two chickens isn’t even enough eggs to supply our family for a week. This is totally arbitrary and unacceptable. There is a note that an “alternative” could be limiting it based on the amount of acreage the household has. That makes more sense, but still is impinging on my freedom for self-sustainability!! Are you outraged with me yet?!?!
  • No animals higher than 30 inches. Horses, cows, pigs, goats, etc. Although, and I quote “This may or may not ultimately be determined to be appropriate for the City, but reflects a growing national trend…” UM YEAH! BECAUSE WE’RE TIRED OF GOVERNMENT AND CORPORATIONS TELLING US WHAT TO EAT!! C’Mon PEOPLE!!

Also, it’s proposed that agricultural zoning of any kind be removed from the books!they really don’t want us to farm!

I find this all disturbing, considering this was presented to the city council in November, not long after the board was presented with our farm operation so we could get a variance for our high tunnels. Hmmmm, wonder who this amendment is aimed at?! We felt supported when we left the council meeting, and have had nothing but support from our friends and neighbors here in Solon. This is like a punch in the guts. Seriously.

If you live in Solon, or even if you don’t, please feel free to reach out the city council. You can find your ward representative and contact them here:

http://www.solonohio.org/index.aspx?NID=594

I’ll keep you posted on any public forums, as I become aware.

As the rest of the area, and country recognize the need for freedom of choice and self sufficiency in our food systems, and are becoming more lenient in their laws, here we are, already established farmers getting our freedoms revoked.

Please support us by contacting the council or attending meetings. It’s time the little guys stop getting trampled!

Much love,

Linde

Read Full Post »

Hi All!

Sorry for the lack of communication lately. I’ve been under the weather, so farm things have come to a screeching halt. (All but the weeds of course.) For us, the season is mostly over, because I was unable to plant our cold weather vegetables due to illness. 😦 Oh well, there’s always next year!

BUT! We do have some mild excitement today! If you live around Cleveland, you’ve probably heard about the black bear on the East side. Well, he’s down the street, and last I heard, he was headed this way!

Bedford Bear!

I hope he’s not hungry for chicken!

-Linde

Read Full Post »

The United States Government thinks we’re cool!

I’m serious! We have just been selected as one of the recipients in Ohio to receive a grant, funded by the USDA National Resources Conservation Service, to build a 2,100 sq ft hoop house (or high tunnel)!! Woohoo! I just received the final contract today!

For those of you who aren’t hip to the farming lingo (don’t worry, until 12 months ago, I was in the dark…) a hoop house, a.k.a., high tunnel is a temporary structure made from PVC pipes, or metal, in a hoop shape, and covered in plastic. They come in all different sizes. High tunnels are not greenhouses. There’s no electrical, plumbing, cement, etc. It’s just a barrier, heated by the sun, protecting a particular area of the farm. Simply put, it’s a big piece of plastic protecting our plants from unwanted elements. Here’s an example:

Credit

So, what does this mean for us?

First, it means I am so excited that I won’t sleep tonight.

Second, it means we have to find an awesome (preferably local) company to buy a high tunnel, within our budget–and then construct it.

But most importantly, it means that we will harvest cold hardy vegetables like lettuces, spinach, carrots, kale, swiss chard, etc. etc. etc., well past the time we would have normally lost them to frost. AND they’ll most likely over-winter, so at the first sign of spring, they’ll start growing again! We’ll also be able to grow heat loving crops inside, when normally it would still be too cold in the unprotected environment. Isn’t that AWESOME?! No more dry spells of having to buy crappy grocery store veggies! WOOHOO!

But there’s a catch…

We live in the ‘burbs. Although, our city code specifically states we are zoned for agriculture and truck farming, we have thrown our city planners for a loop. When we inquired about a permit, things started to get a little hairy. Mostly because even though homesteading, local food, and urban farming is old hat to us, and likely you, dear reader, it’s still quite a new idea to most.

I was concerned at the tone of some of the communications we’ve had up until this point. It felt very much that instead of supporting us, the city was searching for reasons to shut us down, which didn’t make sense, since we are zoned for farming. But after a short conversation with a representative from the city today, it seems its not so much the farming part they’re worried about, it’s the commercial traffic our farm might bring into our residential area. I can respect that as a valid concern. Luckily for us, 99.9% of our business is conducted away from our home (i.e. deliveries, and farmer’s markets next year). Even the CSA is in the clear, because we plan to set up a pick-up site at some places like Whole Foods next season.

But, to actually put up a high tunnel, we are going to have to submit a variance request, and be required to face the planning commission on August 14th. I’m not sure what to expect. I know the planning director is discussing our situation with the Law director, which is of uncertain significance. We’ve already talked to the neighbors, who are supportive of our plans, so we aren’t worried about complaints.

I’m a little disheartened that even though we’re zoned for agriculture, we’re recognized by the state of Ohio as a farm, and we’ve gone through the rigorous process of completing the government application, attending meetings, and having a site visit by the federal government–only to face the prospect that our city council will shoot us down.

BUT! I am confident that the respectable folks of our city council and planning committee will see the value in what we are doing, and see the positive impact it will have on our family, neighborhood and city.

Who knows, maybe we’ll be providing their supper someday.

-Linde

Read Full Post »