Follow us on...
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Watch us on YouTube
Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
    Join Date
    somewhere over the rainbow
    Last Online

    10.23.16 @ 05:37 PM
    Liked 774 Times in 310 Posts

    Default Michigan farming family being shut down

    MATTAWAN, MI – For the past three years, the Hunter family has pursued their vision of happiness by building a hobby farm on their property. Although the family has complied with all regulations demanded of them from the township, complaints from well-connected neighbors have threatened to destroy everything they have worked to build. Kelly Vander Kley Hunter and her family have now been told to reduce the number of animals on the property or risk being shut down by the same zoning enforcement company that affirmed their compliance with township regulations.

    “We feel like we’re under a microscope. We feel like everything we do, on our own property, we have to get permission from the township,” says Vander Kley Hunter.

    The Hunters purchased the neglected property, zoned R-1, with the intent of returning it to its agricultural roots and realizing their dream of raising a family with the experience of farming and the traditional values associated with that lifestyle. An R-1 property, as defined by the Antwerp township zoning ordinance, permits “hobby farms, farms and similar bona fide agricultural enterprises or uses.” The intent of which is, “to protect and stabilize the essential characteristics of these areas in order to promote and encourage suitable environments for low density family life and to maintain and preserve the semi-rural character of the township.” The zoning ordinance is as byzantine as it is arbitrary, as Reason Foundation’s Adrian Moore states, “The local government can change the zoning of any parcel of land on a whim.”

    On May 23 of this year, the Hunter farm was found to be in compliance with state and local ordinances, and, by their account, have had every step of the process approved by the township. Then, in late July, they received another letter from LSL Planning- the company that enforces zoning regulations for the township – stating that they were no longer in compliance and would need to remove over half of their animals within 90 days. Obviously shocked at this turn of events, the Hunters are now fighting the local government to preserve their chosen way of life, claiming that the township is reinterpreting the ordinance to find the family farm out of compliance.

    At an August 7th meeting of the township planning commission, a crowd of about 60 community members packed themselves in to the Antwerp Township Hall in a show of solidarity with the Hunter Farm. Addressing the planning commission, Kelly Vanderkley Hunter stated, “We would like you to … retract that letter until the ordinance is fixed,” adding, “To demand us to do something based on a flawed ordinance does not seem to be in the best interest of this community.”

    Planning commission chair, Leslie Cronenwett, retorted in typical bureaucrat fashion, “(The community) is simply wrong about what the ordinance says.” In another willful display of contempt and autocratic arrogance, Cronenwett went on to state, “We need to list donkeys and llamas and every other funky animal that people never used to keep and now they keep, we never know what we need to fix until we fix it.”

    (Source: (Source:
    Defending the family from the complaining neighbor, one resident asked in the meeting, “Why did these people move here if they don’t want to live in a rural area?” He went on, “I think the farm is an asset to this community.”

    So, how did we get here? How did the Hunter farm go from previously compliant to public nuisance in the short span of about two months? Well, it seems there was a catalyst for action in the form of an inconvenienced neighbor with a penchant for complaining. Enter Sandra Schaser, owner of the property adjacent to the Hunter farm. A letter to the editor of the Kalamazoo Gazette from July 29 names Schaser and Prudential realtor Linda Hazelhoff as the impetus for the township’s sudden change of mind. And there appears to be evidence to support this claim. Fox 17 news’, Jennifer Dowling, obtained this letter of complaint from the township through the Freedom of Information Act.

    In her letter, dated July 12, 2013, Schaser appears to be on a first name basis with both LSL Planning representative and zoning officer Paul LeBlanc and LSL Planning Senior Planner Shawn Seymour. She also mentions Antwerp Township Board supervisor Dan Ruzick, referencing their previous phone calls. She goes on to inform them that while they await confirmation from the Department of Agricultural and Rural Development, she has already called ahead and found the answer for them and that it is their job to enforce local zoning ordnance. Schaser twice demands that officials force the Hunters to “comply” with her interpretation of the township ordinance. It may not be a coincidence that ten days later, on July 22, the Hunters then received their letter from LSL informing them that they were no longer in compliance with the township ordinance. There were no letters sent to the Hunter farm between May 23 and July 22 indicating that additional changes would be required.

    Dowling reports that the township offices declined to answer her questions and directed them to LSL Planning. When confronted, Paul LeBlanc refused to comment on the situation and referred her back to Township supervisor Daniel Ruzick. The Hunters have experienced the same frustrating web of bureaucracy while looking for answers as to why their farm suddenly fell out of compliance between the two letters, though they added the additional fence requested by LSL in May. Ruzick stated to Dowling that there were other changes made on the Hunter farm but did not go into detail. A copy of the Antwerp Township Board’s official statement to Fox 17 News and Jennifer Dowling can be found here.

    Perhaps the reason Mr. Ruznick did not go into detail was because the changes were not made to the farm, but to the arbitrary interpretation of the local zoning ordinances instead. The Kalamazoo Gazette letter charges that Sandra Schaser’s incessant nagging is what ultimately forced the township board to reverse its former decisions regarding the Hunter farm. The simple fact that Schaser opted to resolve her issues not in a court of law, but through crony politics, demonstrates that she is aware of the weakness of her complaints against the Hunters. She is clearly more confident in her ability to manipulate the township board through intimidation than she is in her ability to present a solid argument to a judge. This entire debacle is yet another example of how overzealous autocrats are prone to abuse their power and why matters of privacy and property are best disputed in a court of law presided over by an impartial official.

    “You just can’t believe how many things you cannot do on your own property unless the government lets you,” said Mr. Hunter. “Forget about your property rights. They almost don’t exist.”

    It will be an uphill battle to spare the Hunter family from being driven from the community. Public activism is perhaps the only thing that can counter the bureaucratic suppression of farming freedom. Resources to help the Hunter family are found in the section below.

    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
    Sinner's Swing! Rokgtar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Last Online

    10.23.16 @ 05:23 PM
    Liked 703 Times in 341 Posts

    Premium Member


    Go ahead America, keep on being assholes to your local farmer. NIMBY, right? Hope you like your Chinese imported tomatoes, peanut, and corn with your bok choy. Not to mention your 60 story henhouse eggs from chickens who have never walked on dirt.

    Such shortsighted fucking people.

  3. #3
    Gird your loins Daisy Hill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Goose Poop, Ohio
    Favorite VH Album

    Fair Warning
    Favorite VH Song

    Last Online

    10.23.16 @ 03:33 PM
    Liked 1,558 Times in 891 Posts

    Premium Member


    I know of a similar case where a guy had agricultural property and raised a few cows and misc farm animals on it for years. The land next to him got sold and rezoned residential and the developer built McMansions on it

    one of the couples who bought a house complained of the noise, odor, sight, ....whatever.... of the cows and a few chickens kept there as well

    mind you they were there when they bought the house so you can't really say it was a concealed defect or whatever

    anyway they started a feud with the guy with the cows and it escalated on and on with the other homeowners getting sucked in and starting a petition and calling the police for every little thing

    guess who lost the court case.....the guy with the cows

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk rocknblues81's Avatar
    Join Date
    Last Online

    10.23.16 @ 04:33 PM
    Liked 718 Times in 509 Posts

    Premium Member


    Hopefully they find a better place to live.
    Michael Caine on Jaws: The Revenge:

    "I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built and it is terrific."

    Samuel Johnson 1775 : “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”

    "McDonalds is The Antichrist" - Bill Hicks

  5. #5
    Atomic Punk bklynboy68's Avatar
    Join Date
    Favorite VH Album

    The Magnificent 7
    Last Online

    10.23.16 @ 05:40 PM
    Liked 6,011 Times in 3,270 Posts

    Premium Member


    They will fight this and they have a good shot at winning. It seems like the community is behind them and ONE jackass with influence is messing with them. They have good representation and the law is on their side. I hope they win because this type of crap is happening too often and most of the time the victims don't have the backing to fight.
     "He has a swaggering retro machismo that will give hives to the Steinem cabal" -Camille Paglia on Donald Trump

    "Make way for the bad guy"- Tony Montana

    'This hamburger don't need no helper"- David Lee Roth

    "I wish Bon Jovi would've given me a call before he recorded all of his hits, because the lyrics would've been smarter, the melodies would've been much more smashing, and they would've sold a lot fewer records." -David Lee Roth

    "My beef is people thinking Bon Jovi is good cuz they sold lots of records to housewives." -tango

    "But being number one doesn’t really mean jack fuck all. We sold twice as many records as other records that year (1984) that landed in the Number One position." ~Eddie Van Halen



Similar Threads

  1. Michigan Sex Offender, Beheaded & Burned...
    By voivod in forum VH Fans Meeting Place (Non-Music)
    Replies: 60
    Last Post: 11.14.07, 07:14 AM
  2. Auburn Hills Michigan
    By voa38 in forum Bootleg Network
    Replies: 55
    Last Post: 11.07.07, 06:27 PM
  3. Mercury dumping in Lake Michigan
    By voivod in forum VH Fans Meeting Place (Non-Music)
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07.30.07, 03:32 PM
  4. Michigan man gets 3rd successful U.S. hand transplant
    By ZeoBandit in forum VH Fans Meeting Place (Non-Music)
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 12.01.06, 02:11 PM
  5. Is Michigan really this bad??
    By againstthewind in forum VH Fans Meeting Place (Non-Music)
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 07.01.06, 05:14 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts