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 1. Alpacas 101: Getting Started
 County Zoning regulations ( Michigan) 40 acres?
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Koehlers

782 Posts

Posted - 03/22/2007 :  12:41:20 PM  Show Profile  Visit Koehlers's Homepage  Send Koehlers a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
HI I am hoping to get some information from anyone in Michigan or elsewhere I guess that has no laws for Alpacas as livestock. I just spoke with my township and was informed on all of the regulations regarding livestock. Minimum of 40 acres for domesticated animals. ( Cattle, sheep, goats, swine) All other animals 1000 pounds of weight per acre. with a Minimum of 40 acres. Has anyone ran into this before? There is nothing specific to Alpacas. How did anyone go about getting approval. I am assuming that I will have to go in front of the zoning board. Any tips or information would be greatly appreciated.

Future Alpaca Owner

The Paca Factory

592 Posts

Posted - 03/22/2007 :  8:17:38 PM  Show Profile  Visit The Paca Factory's Homepage  Reply with Quote
In the state of Michigan Alpacas get caught in a catch 22. They aren't livestock, pets or fancy animals. Now, the question comes up, "What are they"? Depending on the county and township determines on how much land you need for animals that graze. Our county, Shiawasse, Michigan all you need is 2 acres for one horse, three sheep or goats and I think one cow. I have no idea about pigs. Not sure about the cow unless your property is zoned as agriculture. You have to have more then 10 or 12 acres to be put in that category. Lots of variations. Michigan is for the most part agricultural. The county we live in really wants to keep as much Ag as possible. We are one of the larger Ag producers in the state. Our farm really have been received here very well. We did purchase 59 acres of which 20-25 acres are leased to a local farmer for crops. We raise alpacas on the rest. The community is fascinated with alpacas so things are all very well and good here. I think if you look into properties thru out the country you will discover that most rurual areas that have a lot of farming they will recieve you well. Well now, good luck to you and let me know if you would like to come out to the farm and look around. We have our second annual Open House, Alpaca Summer Sizzler, Aug. 25 when many folks will come to see the animals and enjoy the day. Good food and fun. Linda

David & Linda Bradley
The Paca Factory
Durand, Mi.
989-288-3315
thepacafactory@aol.com
www.alpacanation.com/thepacafactory.asp
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Always Accoyo

1347 Posts

Posted - 03/22/2007 :  9:32:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Be very sure to check out the local zoning laws. They can be wildly different from township to township. In ours, animals are divided into domestic (dogs, cats), farm (cows, pigs, etc.), horses, and exotics (everything else). We are not allowed to keep farm animals, and exotics require special permits. Parcels are 10 acre minimums, on which we are allowed 10 total animals. It doesn't matter how large your parcel is (mine is 90 acres), the 10 animal limit applies. Very frustrating.

Nancy Wright
Always Accoyo
Oxford, MI
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mcsanborn

1 Posts

Posted - 03/23/2007 :  07:22:27 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We ran into a zoning issue in our township, Sheridan Township, Fremont, MI. We live in a residentially zoned part of the township, across the street on both sides is zoned agricultural. Our township allows livestock in a residential area on a minimum of 5 acres, our property was listed as 4.9938 acres. We needed to get a zoning variance to be recognized as 5 acres and then a special use permit to allow livestock. Our township used the Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices (GAAMPS)as a reference to try and determine the number of animal units per acre (this can be found on the Michigan Department of Agriculture web site). Although the GAAMPS does not address alpacas, our township took it upon themselves to use this as a guide, using sheep and goats as an example, and determined we could have 3 alpacas per acre. I would be happy to share additional information to include examples of the information we provided to the township for our zoning variance and special use permit should you like. Feel free to contact me at the address below or see our farm page for additional contact information.

Good Luck.

Mike Sanborn
Sanborn's Great Northern Alpacas
msanborn1962@hotmail.com
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SailorLiz

25 Posts

Posted - 03/23/2007 :  08:32:34 AM  Show Profile  Visit SailorLiz's Homepage  Reply with Quote
We have started our Alpaca Ranch here in Ocqueoc, MI (Lower Northern MI). We purchased 25 acres and it is zoned Agriculture. No problems with our 13 Alpacas. This is also a "big" farming and ag area. All of the local people are excited about the Alpacas and we have also been a curiosity in the community. I think you will have more "zoning" issues the closer you are to a metro area.

Sundown Alpaca Ranch & Sundown Fiber Mill
http://new.photos.yahoo.com/sailorlizmi/albums/
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slredmond

384 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2007 :  9:01:14 PM  Show Profile  Visit slredmond's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi -
Can you let us know what county and township you are in? Do you currently have acreage, and how much? Are you zoned agricultural, rural residential, medium density residential? The house we're at now is zoned medium density residential, but we have nearly 6 acres, and are allowed to have 1 horse per two acres, or two sheep/goats per one acre. Our new farm is 14 acres, zoned agricultural, and we have no "capacity" constraints.

Are you sure about the 40 acres to have even one cow? Seems really excessive. Are they saying a 1,200 pound horse ("All other") can go on one acre, but a 60 pound goat needs 40? Maybe I've really misunderstood!!

Kevin, Sandy and Caitlin Redmond
Walnut Point Alpacas
www.alpacanation.com/walnutpoint.asp
info@walnutpointalpacas.com
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Koehlers

782 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2007 :  11:17:24 PM  Show Profile  Visit Koehlers's Homepage  Send Koehlers a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
HI, I am in Bay County, Bangor Township. I can not figure it out either. It reads minimum lot size for keeping cattle, swine,sheep,goats,chickens,turkey, geese or poultry shall be 40 acres. They allow 2 cows,sheep,swine or goats on that 40 acres. Then it states minimum lot size for all other animals shall be determined based upon the size of the largest animal kept. There is nothing specific to Alpacas or even Llamas for that matter. But you go to pets and it states family pets including rabbits,fish,birds,hamsters and other animals regarded as household pets is permitted. Provided that they are maintained and accomodated so as not to pose a nuisance to adjoining property or a hazard to public health and safety. Alpacas fit the Pet description. More than ready to get out of this State.

Future Alpaca Owner
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Judith

4019 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2007 :  08:17:27 AM  Show Profile  Send Judith a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
My experience even here in New York, where agriculture is generally encouraged, is that Planning & Development Agencies can have a dramatic impact on the way zoning laws are interpreted and enforced. I grew up in Niagara County, where farming was the tradition and the norm, but over time municipalities began to rely on industry to bring in needed tax revenue. However, the various industries grew, flourished and then faltered over time, so that many factories failed, resulting in "brown zones" (indusrial complexes that suffered from the taint of chemical toxins and the general detritis of abandoned and deteriorating buildings and cracked asphalt parking lots). Struggling to recoup the lost tax bases, county "developers" turned to encouraging development of vast housing subdevelopments which necessitated breaking up farmlands (traditionally low-tax-revenue businesses). Farming became persona non grata; any old excuse to keep new farms from starting and existing farms from continuing in business was a good enough excuse. I ended up moving to Cattaraugus County where the Planning & Development Commission is pro-agriculture and there is a clear sense of how farming fits into and benefits the overall economy and environmental goals of the community. Different plans mean different emphases. Check around to see if other communities are more amenable to your proposed useage. Each county and each municipality has its own development goals; try to find one where your goals mesh with theirs. Good luck!

Judith Korff
LadySong Farm Alpacas, Fleece & Flowers
Randolph, NY 14772
Farm: (716) 354-6355
Cell: (716) 499-0383
www.alpacanation.com/ladysong.asp
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richbye

750 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2007 :  09:21:51 AM  Show Profile  Visit richbye's Homepage  Send richbye a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
I'm about 30 minutes north of Judith, in Erie county, NY. It is definitely different even less than 10 miles away! For instance, I live in the town of Sardinia, in the village of Chaffee. The only law is that we don't dump the poop on the neighbor's border. They (the town government) don't care what type of livestock we raise, how many or on how many acres. But, less than 10 miles away in Wales, you need a minimum of 10 acres to have livestock. Less than that you need a special permit that has to be renewed every year, and is based on your neighbor's opinions.
It is VERY town specific.

I would get a copy of livestock classification from dept. of agriculture on the federal, state and local levels. Find out exactly what an alpaca is classfied in each. Go to the town board with as much stuff in black and white so there is no way they can dispute what's in their face.
If an alpaca is classified as a "pet", then talk to local dog breeders. I know it sounds goofy, but if it's to be a real business, and not a hobby farm for only pets, you should find out how they deal with the issue of having pets as a business, rather than a working farm.
If it is classified as livestock, ask them point blank "How many can I have per acre? and What is the minimum acreage I need to have?" and then make sure to get the answer in writing.

Go armed with as much information as possible, preferrably printed directly off that website, not notes writen in your own hand.

Here are links that may help you.

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/MDA_Care_Farm_Animals_GAAMP_129713_7.pdf

http://www.michigan.gov/mda/0,1607,7-125-1567_1599_2558---,00.html

After scanning (and searching) through the Michigan Stage agriculture site, it seems that there is little to no reference to alpacas, even camelids.

I guess the first step would be to find out what exactly the zoning is for your farm, and the laws pertaining to that. Then work from there. Contact other Michigan farms, and see if they can point you in the right direction. If all else fails, you could apply for the livestock dealer license It seems to have much broader rules.

I wish you all the luck! If all else fails, you can move to my town

Jeanne

Gemstone Alpacas, Inc.
11300 Savage Rd.
Chaffee, NY 14030
(716) 868-0883
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slredmond

384 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2007 :  11:00:58 AM  Show Profile  Visit slredmond's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi -
You might also be interested in the definitions here:

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(nrb1rqzrtiytpyf0mmpnmyme))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-286-472

I also just found your township's zoning at http://www.bangortownship.org/BANGOR%20TOWNSHIP/ZoningOrdinance/PDF%20files/ARTICLE%2003.pdf (Plus other pages)

Wow - it's pretty rigid. Best of luck. Don't leave Michigan though - too much great stuff going on here!!



Kevin, Sandy and Caitlin Redmond
Walnut Point Alpacas
www.alpacanation.com/walnutpoint.asp
info@walnutpointalpacas.com
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Judith

4019 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2007 :  8:51:22 PM  Show Profile  Send Judith a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Just came across this symposium and wondered whether it might help you. This motto in this case is "if you can't beat 'em, change 'em!" Maybe bringing some new ideas to your community can help you accomplish your goals and also revitalize "ruralism" in the area, which could benefit everybody. See if this might give you some ammunition: http://newruralism.pbwiki.com/Symposium

Judith Korff
LadySong Farm Alpacas, Fleece & Flowers
Randolph, NY 14772
Farm: (716) 354-6355
Cell: (716) 499-0383
www.alpacanation.com/ladysong.asp
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