Posts Tagged ‘zoning’

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! 🙂

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Thanks again!

Linde

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If you’ve been following our blog, facebook page, or newsletter, you know at this time last week, we felt under attack. And rightly so. We found out only days before, just by chance, through a cleveland.com article that our farm was in jeopardy because the city has decided to change the zoning laws, seemingly out of nowhere. (As if we aren’t always at jeopardy because of the bugs, deer, coyotes, and constant state of pregnancy by the head farmer. :P) Well, we, as well as nearly a dozen other folks from the city went to a public forum on Tuesday to state our concerns. And luckily, no one had concerns opposing our position, besides, perhaps some on the planning commission.

So, I wanted to give you an update on where we are now.

  • Thankfully, “cultivation of land” is not being prohibited in Solon. It’s not being specifically addressed, it seems, in the paperwork, but per the Planning Director, Rob Frankland, our market garden is safe.
  • The current limitation on chickens is 2 per household  (which we all objected to pretty loud and clearly), UNLESS you already own chickens. So, our 18 (that’s our allowable number since we just recently lost 14 to a coyote attack) chickens are safe. Once the weather breaks, we’ll be replacing them and getting our egg business back up and running (hopefully!)—more on this later.
  • They currently are limiting any farm animal over 30″ at the shoulder, with the exception of horses, mules and ponies. I specifically asked: “What is the difference if I own a mule or a goat?” I didn’t get a straight answer. However, the planning director essentially said these were arbitrary starting points (as I suspected), and that nothing was final.

We didn’t get any straight answers on when any recommended changes might be made. Just a lot of “Nothings final.” and “We want to hear from the residents” Which I was confused by, considering we are the residents. One member also stated “I don’t just want hearsay, I want expert opinion.”-on how many animals should be permitted per property. Which I also didn’t understand since, well, we’re experts since we own the animals, right? And I had just given them articles and contact information for a local person who works at Case Western University and specializes in zoning and planning for animal husbandry and agriculture in the urban area. Regardless, we felt our concerns were heard, and we felt supported by many.

You can read the most recent cleveland.com article HERE, where Rich refers to some Solon residents as animals. (Which was said in jest and everyone laughed. In writing, it doesn’t come across as well. He’s kind of embarrassed as he says “I sound like an old curmudgeon.”)

The goal now is to have residents voice their opinion on how many animals they would tolerate on their neighbor’s property. Should there be restrictions? Should it be based on lot size? Size of the animal? Who knows? These are things they want to hear about. There was a strong support from all our neighbors on Brainard Road. An ENORMOUS “Thank you” to them for coming. And EVERYONE who came. And everyone who wrote letters on our behalf. I get the distinct impression that they were flooded with letters supporting Collingwood Farm. 🙂 Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

If anyone out there knows of “experts” (i.e. professionals in the agriculture field that could speak to the appropriateness of chickens and other animals in the urban area) I would greatly appreciate their contact information. The more information we get to the planning commission, the more informed their decisions will be.

So, I cautiously say, things are looking up!

Thank you again to you all who support us. We couldn’t do this without you!!

Linde

PS: I don’t believe I mentioned it before, but we’re having another baby! In July! So, we’ll have a 16 month old, and a newborn. So, we might have another slow year farm-wise around here. I’m sure you understand!

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