Tag Archives: Indy Rezone

Indy Rezone hurriedly moves forward

Recently I got this e-mail from Sherri Atwell asking for help in the Marion Co Rezoning effort. While I am no longer in Marion Co. I still think it is important to curb some of the changes that affect many homesteaders and will do all that I can. As I am no longer a resident, my opinion and voice doesn’t’ carry as much weight as it once did. That doesn’t mean I WON’T voice my opinion. I am passing along her letter to you all as I couldn’t have said it any better.  Please share it around and get more momentum.

Did you know that Indy Rezone is being presented to City Council July 13th?

I am writing to you because last summer an e-mail went out to you after the public meetings regarding Urban Agriculture. I just replied all to that e-mail, so my apologies if you do not want this info, I am hoping you do! I came away from these meetings feeling like the overall response to the Indy Rezone draft was not positive.  Most people were very concerned about the new restrictions.

This past year the public info about Indy Rezone has been largely non-existent until the end of May when the news reported that they hoped it would go to City Council in June. Finally the document was posted to the Indy.gov website June 1. This document passed the Metropolitan Development Commission June 17 and will be presented to city council July 13 at 7 PM.

It can be seen here:

http://www.indy.gov/egov/city/dmd/planning/services/current/Pages/ordinance.aspx

There are over 700 pages so here is what may interest you most:

  1. Agricultural uses, Farmers Market, Garden as Primary use (Pg. 483-486)
  2. Personal Garden, Personal Livestock (pgs. 526-528)
  3. Personal Livestock License Draft:  http://www.indy.gov/eGov/City/DMD/Planning/Zoning/ordinances/Indy%20Rezone%20Docs/Personal%20Livestock%20License%20061715.pdf
  4. The only thing that would be considered “Grandfathering in” what you currently have/are doing- Applications and Nonconformities begins pg. 118.

After Reviewing this info, do you believe these restrictions are truly making Indy more sustainable or putting us in a box of additional restrictions? I also urge you to look up any other issues that may be of concern to you.  This link takes you to a searchable Word document you can download, so you can look up key words if you are having trouble finding what you are looking for: https://copy.com/pAwC1I46qpOItu1F

Something that caught my eye is that all the livestock info says “For Personal Use Only” – the implication there is not being able to sell eggs, chicks, baby animals. Also, some livestock is not listed as permitted, do you or your friends have Turkeys, Guineas, peafowl?  Do you have un-neutered male goats?

The City Council represents us- the constituents.  They need to know how each of you, your friends, neighbors and customers feel about Agriculture and other issues in Indy Rezone.

I hope you can take the time to make your voice heard.  Please do not assume you can fly under the radar because there is no way this can be enforced. Not everyone has that luxury. Many of us have a persistent complainer in our neighborhoods that makes it impossible to fly under the radar.  If anyone complains, code enforcement will be at your door! 

You may have good neighbors now, but will you next year or the year after that?

You can make yourself heard in more than one way:

  1. Contact Indy Rezone – These two people are on staff with Indy Rezone:

Tammara Tracy 327-7834  ttracy@indy.gov

John Neal 327-5265 jneal@indy.gov

  1. Contact your Councilor -put in your address and check “elected officials here http://maps.indy.gov/GovProfile/ If that does not work call the Council Office at 327-4242
  1. Also Contact the At-Large Councilors.
  1. Go to the City Council Meeting July 17 and the committee meeting thereafter. The leadership of the City-County Council will decide what Committee is assigned the ordinance. The schedule of meetings can be seen here: http://www.indy.gov/eGov/Council/Meetings/Documents/Calendar15.pdf
  1. Contact as many people as you can and pass this information on to them.
  1. Post info on social media. Help get people informed and to the City Council meetings.

It would be great if someone would step forward and begin a petition drive to recommend this does not pass, or at the very least, gets delayed so that people can review it an fix the glaring issues. If anyone is interested in organizing or participating in a petition drive, please contact me or my husband Barry. His email address is barryatwell@gmail.com.

Thanks,

Sherri Atwell

Indy Rezone comment meeting Jul 16

The re-zoning committee is having two open comment times July 16th. Noon and 5:30. Not too often is the powers enacting changes open to comments from the general public. I will be there probably for both sessions to just hear what others have to say, and voice my own opinions. If it impacts you make an effort to show. Even if you are not directly impacted show up to support those that want to homestead and be self sufficient here in Marion Co. I would love to have it be standing room only! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE share with anyone and everyone you think could be impacted.

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New ordinances for Marion Co

So today I wanted to take some time and talk about the Indy Rezone ordinances that are coming down the line. If you haven’t read them yet the link is below. It is 600+ pages and not the easiest read. You need to also know what your property is zoned as when reading.

 http://www.indyrezone.org/

So my main issue with the new ordinances is restrictions on livestock and gardening in residential areas.

The proposed limit is 10 chickens in a 1/3 acre or less. It does not take into account how the chickens are cared for the size of their enclosure. It is only based on property size. So in theory 10 chickens could be crammed into CAFO style operation as long as under 1/3 acre. I have 0.2 acres and 20 birds. They are allows to run 90% or the property free range. They are happy, well taken care of, and have no issues with smell, disease, etc. They are behind a privacy fence, and are more pets that produce eggs. To arbitrarily say I cannot have more than 10 I feel is a strike against my rights to raise my own food. We are a family of 6 and we do not cull our chickens when they stop laying. They “retire” and live out their lives with the other ladies. We treat them no different than when they were laying. They are still productive in insect control, turning compost, eating our food waste that would go to the landfill, and making rich fertilizer. So as the older birds stop laying and finally pass on we add new birds. But under the current ordinances I have to kill or somehow dispose of my older birds or stop getting eggs because I have hit my max of 10. So why is the number 10 without mention of care, feed, water, actual space to roam etc.  Another issue is the requirement to live on the space where the animals are living. This puts up issues for community gardens, schools that have chickens, some retirement centers etc. You also cannot have your chickens in your front yard. Well some corner lots or properties have no back yard and all the space is in the front. Why such a restriction? Is it because people don’t want to see them? I don’t want to watch my 70 year old neighbor mow in her bikini top or her husband mow without a shirt. But that is their prerogative and if they want to let them. It is their life, and their property.

Rabbits no more than 12 on any size lots. Rabbits take up less room than chickens. 2 foot by 3 foot is average pen size for rabbits. They do not need more space than that. They don’t have to forage (although we harvest weeds and grass to feed them fresh greens). If like us you are breeding them for a food source you need 1 buck and 1-2 doe’s. We happen to have 3 because we wanted to be able to have one with kits all the time and give our does a break between. There is 4. Each rabbit can have up to 12 kits. Boom, you are out of compliance. Now you have 10 weeks for the kits to grow out. In that time another doe will drop a litter and maybe the 3rd.  But this is all in the space of 12 feet by 6 feet. So tell me how is this impacting my property? They eat the weeds most of my other neighbors spray with toxic chemicals for people, pets, and the environment not to mention the well fields and the runoff. I get great fertilizer for my garden and a food source for my family. Again an arbitrary number.

Goats is another arbitrary number. Maximum of 2 for 1 acre or more. Again arbitrary number. Well if you are having 2 dairy goats for your family, they need to be pregnant in order to give milk. Well if you have 2 does because they do not like to be alone, and she drops 2-4 kids, BOOM, out of compliance.  Just because you have 1 acre does not mean that the goats will be able to use 1 acre. I have seen MANY goat operations that use a pen system and are in no way covering 1 acre for as many as 12-20 goats. They goats are pets, are milked, and are considered family. In no way are the goats mismanaged or mistreated. So where does 2 goats per 1 acre come from?  I could have six 200+ lb dogs in 0.2 acres and I am in compliance. Is that best for the dogs? Maybe not, but it is within compliance with the ordinances.

Pigs have not been allowed in Marion Co. I can understand for CAFO operations, but a teacup big, that is potty trained as a pet? What is the harm. I believe they should lift the ban on pigs as pets, or for family food. If it is commercial operation, I would stand with the ban. 2-4 pigs rotated on 1 acre have little to no smell, and take care of additional wastes that would otherwise go to the landfill.

Lastly a garden can only occupy 75% of your property. Well I practice edible landscaping, and have no use for lawn. Why should I be forced to have a lawn if it does nothing for me or my family?

So that those are my main issues. I have others, but that is the biggest at the moment. I have voiced my concerns and to their benefit, as much as I can tell, they are listening to what people have to say. They are soliciting comments. These are not effective yet, and you can help shape how they are written. I do applaud the bio-swales for rainwater runoff and other positive changes. I just had issues when they impact my lifestyle and that of my family. Maybe a tour of areas and show the committee what a successful system looks like. I do also have to applaud the marketing team for Rezone. I have heard the ads on the radio and it sounds like everyone is super excited because change is good, and great, and wonderful. That is until the enforcement of the new ordinances rain on your parade. If you haven’t read them, or checked out the site, I would suggest you do so and get your own opinion, and get informed.