Letter: A Threat to Hanover Rural Areas

To the Editor:

Hanover rural landowners, take note. The Hanover Landowners Association strongly urges you to vote down Article 5, a petitioned zoning amendment on the town warrant. It attempts to modify a section of the code in the rural residential district so that non-household or farm animals (i.e. horses and livestock) would require a minimum of three acres (except poultry, which would require a special exception on lots smaller than three acres). We feel this is an infringement on current landowner property rights. The Planning Board voted to recommend that Town Meeting not adopt this amendment. Most of us who reside in the rural area chose to live out here so we could have a rural lifestyle and to farm and raise animals. Etna and Hanover Center have always been home to agriculture, and today small-scale farming is a growth industry as well as a necessity for many rural landowners.

The Article 5 proposal originated from a neighborhood that doesn’t want horses next door. These restrictions should not apply to the entire rural district. The Hanover Master Plan has always encouraged a compatible mix of rural and urban neighborhoods, and we should continue to maintain this equilibrium. Recently the Planning Board has been encouraging “neighborhood” zoning and is holding meetings in various neighborhoods around town to learn what residents think about the current zoning in their neighborhood.

The Hanover Landowners Association has been working with the Planning Board since 2008 to improve the agricultural provisions of the ordinance. The Article 5 proposal restricting farm animals is both premature and inappropriate for the town as whole. We urge Hanover citizens to follow the recommendation of the Planning Board and vote Article 5 down.

Dave Cioffi, President

Bob Bailey. Secretary-Treasurer

Jim Rubens and Jim Kennedy, board members

Hanover Landowners Association