(BlackburnNews.com file photo)

North Huron court case over standards for livestock

Huron County’s director of planning and development has confirmed she is aware of issues surrounding AG-4 land designations, and the potential impacts on a case between an Amish family in Belgrave and the Township of North Huron that is currently before the courts.

Sandra Weber said she can’t comment specifically on North Huron’s case, but said the issue of keeping livestock on AG-4 parcels is something currently under review. She said she expected to send further information to local councils shortly.

In a story reported by CKNX in September, a young family who purchased recently-severed land in a private sale has found itself in court after North Huron council agreed with a report to zone the severed land AG-4 Zone (Agricultural Small Holding), which changes the maximum number of nutrient units, or livestock, on the size of the parcel.

However, the new limit conflicts with provincial standards mentioned in the Nutrient Management Act, which states “there shall be no restriction on the number of farm animals that may be managed in the course of an agricultural operation”.

Beginning in April of this year, the Stutzmans received a letter stating that due to two anonymous complaints, they were in violation of municipal bylaws concerning zoning and building code violations. North Huron asked for livestock, calf huts, and “hoop houses”, to be removed from the property.

At a council meeting September 4, North Huron council was packed with supporters of the young family, but a delegation was told by Reeve Neil Vincent that council members would take questions at a public meeting on September 24. However, at that meeting, Vincent said council would not answer any questions on the matter due to the issue being before the courts.

North Huron resident Ranko Markelijevic, who is representing the Stutzmans in this case, told CKNX in an email that “if this prosecution is concluded the way prosecution intends it to be, it will be the biggest travesty of justice that I have personally witnessed in this country, let alone have been made party to”.