Sunday, October 28, 2007

Undomesticated animals in exurban Long Island

According to the 2000 census, Southold, NY, on Long Island has a population of 5,465. This town is now facing that classic issue of what to do with farm animals as more suburbanites (exurbanites) move to the area. In 1985, the locals got together to defeat a measure that would have set requirements for the amount of land needed for horses. This month, the town once again rallied to defeat an animal ordinance, this time focused on complaints about peacocks and other animals. The locals see regulation of these animals as a threat to their way of life.  Read this story about it in the New York Times.

I have to wonder if this is just a winning battle in a losing war. House prices in that area more than doubled between 2000 and 2005, while median income rose by only 18%. The NY Times article makes it sound like there will be additional attempts in the future to handle the nuisance issue. I suspect it is only a matter of time before the newcomers have enough clout to cast this as a "quality of life" issue.


Lisa R. Pruitt said...

Here's a cite to a Maryland case that considered a similar conflict in the early 1990s. County Comm’rs of Carroll County v. Zent, 587 A.2d 1205 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1991).

The court wrote: "Circumstances which are accepted as natural and normal incidents of a rural society by those who are nurtured by an agrarian environment do not always match the expectations of bucolic life anticipated by suburbanites as they move out to the countryside. While new residents may well expect, and accept, vistas of fields of waving grain, pastural [sic] scenes of dairy cattle on the hillside and the rustic ambiance of the pond and wetlands area in the meadows, they sometimes belatedly discover that the plow precedes the grain, manure accompanies the cattle, mosquitoes infest the ponds, and the products of the fields and animal husbandry must go to market."

Alan B said...

That is a great quote, and I think highly accurate. It does seem surprising to people that "bucolic" can be noisy, stinky and more than a little chaotic.