Chickens in Historic Fallsington- Taken to COURT after 30 years of Brooding
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November 29, 2017, My husband and I received a court summons in the mail for a civil complaint from the code enforcement officer Jim Molimock in falls township, Pennsylvania. They are taking us to court for our chickens ( violation- the raising, boarding and/or husbandry of rural animals zoning ordinance section 209-19. E(1). Last time I check these zoning laws 3 years ago and we were A- Ok. When we transfer the home from my mother in-law (In-laws purchased home in 1983) to my husband 3 years ago I even ask Dina Berry if we were still ok with the chickens, she responded “yes”. Jim Molimock even inspected the property for occupancy permits, saw the chickens, and said nothing of it. Mary jo Westerhold told family’s in historic Fallsington as resent as this past summer, that chickens and other rural animals where aloud in the historic district. Now our one acer property backs up to several acres of preserved open space. Our home is over 300 years old, listed on the national registry of historic places and has had chickens that I know of for 30+ years. 30 years is being conservative, Bill and I are 32. There are state and federal laws in place for pre-existing non-conforming conditions (ex post facto laws) and most of my adjacent neighbors have written letters on my behalf. Now with all that being the case, we will succeed in this fight to live the lifestyle that we are living. There are several other’s in Historic Fallsington and falls twp, that are raising chickens, however we are the only family being taken to court due to an anonymous complaint that was filled in September. All the complaint said was -“ free ranging chickens at above address” that’s it, that’s all it said. Not the case at our home, We have two hen houses with small runs in a large fenced in roaming area. Currently we have 2 hens that have become pets, 15 chicks that hatched mid October and 3 hens that we have resently adopted from another local family due to the uproar from the township. I have been told several times by Jim (zoning officer) to fill out a complaint for the other homesteaders, which I refuse to do, leaving me as their only target. My family and I depend on our chickens, they supplement a large portion of our food. To take them would be taking food out of my children’s mouth. I encouraged anyone that feels the need to let falls township know that they are wrong, in so many ways, please join me at the Falls Township building 188 Old Lincoln Highway in fairless hills, Pa. on January 9th at 7pm. The more people there to dispute this, the better off we all are. If you can’t be there that day, please wright a letter explaining your position. Email it to Mrslesliemay@gmail.com
A million thanks to those that can help:)
Below is a link to falls township, codes, we fall under historic district.
To whom it may concern,
My name is Leslie May, I live in beautiful historic Fallsington, and I am an urban Homesteader. I raise chickens and try to grow as much of my own fruit and vegetables as possible. My home is in one of the oldest neighborhoods in the United States. For centuries, the land around me has been used for agriculture and animal husbandry. To take that way from this unique place would be like ripping pages out of a history book. My husband has had the privilege of growing up in the house we currently live in and throughout his childhood, his family as well as several of their neighbors, bred chickens in their backyards. There were never any issues except for the occasional rooster that crowed a little too much. If and when that occurred, the rooster would be culed and the problem was resolved.
My husband and I now have two little girls, and we are desperately trying to raise them right. Their chores are not like your typical suburban kids chores; my girls help me brood my hens, and the knowledge that they are retaining from this experience is absolutely priceless. My girls are learning responsibility, compassion and most importantly, they are learning how to raise their own food, which is becoming a lost art in our present time. The majority of my surrounding neighbors fully support my endeavors to homestead. They enjoy the fresh eggs that are given to them and are also thankful for the bug control that the chickens provide.
Unfortunately, my way of life is at risk and help is needed. I am hopeful that Falls Township can recognize the devastation that would be caused by an unjust ruling against me. Thank you for taking the time to read this!
I also wanted to mention, renovating a historic home on your own does not take a few weeks. It take years of hard work, determination, and a whole lot of love. Our goal at this property is to bring it back to it’s original 17th century charm, which includes chickens and other rural animals. After several years of working away, we can actually see a light at the end of the tunnel here at May Manor. Taking away animal husbandry from historic Fallsington is erasing a part of history that our forefathers worked so hard to preserve. We are at a crossroads of change yet again, and like our forefathers we will fight to keep this village as its ment to be. We feel a true sense of pride being able to save this peice of American history.
The link below is to Falls Township VS Chickens “Event”. Your support and attendance would be greatly appreciated!
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