Waste Farmland or Pole Barn Variance?

Let’s Waste More Good Farmland

It has been awhile since I got off on a good rant.

Rural FarmlandMy belief is a person should be able to do whatever they want with their property, as long as the value of your neighbor’s property is not degraded by it. The less government interference, the better.

I live in an area of the country where, to me, zoning makes little or no sense. Years ago, too much of the best farmland got carved up into five to 20 acre tracts, with one dwelling only allowed per parcel. Somehow, preserving farms and instead using high density housing just didn’t cross the minds of those who supposedly should know better.

I recently read an article by Rebecca Geller on Readingeagle.com:

“The Jefferson Township Zoning Hearing Board has granted John Hartranft a variance to build a pole barn on his agricultural property at 130 Bricker Road.

Hartranft, who previously had been denied a permit for the barn, needed a variance because he plans to build the barn 27 feet from his property line. Ordinarily, the setback requirement is 50 feet.

“I want to save as much farmland as I can,” explained Hartranft, who uses his property for raising crops and dairy farming.

Board members had questions about how Hartranft would access the barn. Hartranft said he intended to use an existing driveway.

The board granted the variance on the condition that the barn only be used to store farm machinery; no livestock may be kept there.”

The waste of valuable farm land, to meet some plucked from the air requirement for setbacks is pretty difficult to defend, at least in my humble opinion. Mr. Hartranft appears to be trying to be the best possible steward of his property, and its best use.  He even goes to the extent of using an existing driveway for the new pole barn, instead of altering his land to put in another road.

In the 50 plus years I’ve lived in the same “rural” area, I’ve seen hundreds of acres of beautiful wheat fields chewed up. When and where will it all end?

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