Marsha Chartrand

Manchester Township ordinance amendment allows farm animals on small lots

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Jacy Wacker, pictured here in a file photo, raises sheep and steers, and has been active in 4-H and Manchester Community Fair. A revised ordinance in Manchester Township will allow most youth to raise similar livestock on private property.

When any local government entity enacts or amends an ordinance that affects its citizens, it is required by law to publish this information in its newspaper of record. Last week, when such a notice from Manchester Township was published in the Manchester Mirror, the reaction from readers was, “Huh?”

“Township of Manchester Resolution No. 17-02, September 12, 2017: A resolution to adopt an ordinance to amend the Manchester Township Zoning Ordinance by adding, amending, and deleting certain animal and farm related definitions and regulations and by adding Section 16.26 “Regulation of Animals” to Article 16.0 “Supplementary Regulations and Standards,” pursuant to the authority granted by the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, Public Act 110 of 2006 (MCL 125.3101 et. seq.), as amended.”

Most readers probably got no further.

According to Manchester Township Zoning Administrator Carl Macomber, this amendment to a previously-adopted ordinance within the township, simply allows residents with the two-acre minimum lot size to raise certain farm animals for 4-H Clubs or the Manchester Community Fair, without penalty. The wording is intended to include a time limit, such as there would be for a fair-related animal, rather than allowing residents on a smaller lot to raise, say, dairy animals.

Macomber stressed that individual Property Owners Associations (POA), several of which exist within the township, may also have rules that could supersede this ordinance. Residents should check with their POA board to see if further limitations may apply, especially if their children wish to participate in raising an animal for the 4-H and/or Community Fairs.

Trustee Ron Milkey, who spearheaded the amendment, explained further that the ordinance amendment also limits residents’ ability to have animals which may roam from their own property, such as free-range chickens.

“Residents can have free-range chickens, but they need to be sure that the chickens remain on their own property,” he said.”


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