Pocopson officials say alpaca herd must be thinned

Supervisors recommend cutting township woman’s herd from 20 to 4-to-5

By Kelli Siehl, Staff Writer, UnionvilleTimes.com

An illustration of an alpaca. A herd animal known for its soft fur, Pocopson supervisors expressed concerns about 20 of the animals being housed on a 2.2-acre township property.

POCOPSON — How many alpacas is too many?

Apparently, according to the township Board of Supervisors, 20 is too many for a township resident to keep on her 2.2-acre property, who recommended Monday that a township resident be limited to keeping just four to five of the animals on her property.

Township resident, Nora Margetich, asked officials during last month’s township supervisors’ meeting to write a letter of recommendation to the Chester County Zoning Hearing Board offering support in allowing her to maintain a herd of Alpacas on her Lenape Road property.

Margetich, along with her attorney, made the plea at the February 27 Board of Supervisors’ meeting after being cited by the township for housing a herd of 20 alpacas on her 2.2 acre parcel.

Under the township’s current land-use ordinance, Margetich would not be able to keep the animals, however, her attorney cited that because animals were consistently housed there by the previous owners, it falls under a special pre-existing, nonconforming land use provision.

At Monday’s meeting, township Planning Commission Chair, Gary Summers, noted only 3/4 of an acre of usable pasture on the property as opposed to the original report of 1.5 acres. In February, Margetich asked supervisors to recommend she be able to keep 12 Alpacas on the 1.5 acre parcel. After inspecting the property, Summers said the other 3/4 of an acre consisted of a row of pens used to separate some of the animals. He told supervisors that his biggest concern is for the animals and the “density of the herd.”

Supervisors and other township officials referred to extensive research and expert opinion recommending the number of Alpacas that could be safely housed on the property.

Although officials agreed that Alpacas are one of the most eco-friendly herd animals on the planet, Supervisors “reluctantly” agreed to recommend to the zoning hearing board there be a maximum of 4-5 of single sex or geldings allowed on the property to dissuade any breeding.  Supervisors’ will also ask for an annual inspection of the property by the township’s code enforcement officer (at the owner’s expense), an established manure plan and any variance granted to run with the applicant – not on the land.

Supervisor Ricki Stumpo stated she felt Margetich should be able to keep 6 Alpacas in order help soften the  impact of having to give up so many of her pets. Stumpo said she based her request on the fact there has never been a complaint against the owner and the Large Animal Protection agency and a reputable veterinarian both testified in favor of the animals’ living conditions.

Supervisors’ Chair Steve Conary noted that the decision was not based upon the present conditions, but those that could occur over time, such as contamination of local wells and storm water management issues.

Summers reassured officials that  Southeast llama Rescue, a reputable organization which works across the country,  is prepared to foster the animals.

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  1. Ray Farrell says:

    Thank-you Pocopson Twp supervisors for saving 20 alpacas from the inhumane existence of being packed onto 2 acres like sardines.

    Your compromise was very reasonable.

    Even us folks from the “city” recognize that codes and ordinances keep us safe and help to protect property values.

    • Sarah Hughes says:

      Ray Farrell, suggest you read up on Agenda 21 aka Sustainable Development. Compromise? You are agreeing with a group of public servants that want to take a landowner’s property rights away from her…private property rights are protected by the Constitution,. Maybe you and the supervisors also would want to look into a refresher class on the Constitution.

    • Kristin Hoover says:

      If the conditions had been inhumane, no veterinarian would have testified on her behalf. If anybody would be concerned about their property values, then my guess is that it would have been the neighbors (as I am one). She bothers no one and had had no complaints from anybody. This was an arbitrary and capricious act on the part of the Township who should have stayed out of her business.

  2. Kristin Hoover says:

    I disagree with the Township actions and believe they should leave my neighbor alone. She doesn’t bother anybody. Nor should the township.

    My views are not and NEVER will be based on ANYTHING from the Amercian Policy Center which is a right-wing conservative bunch who are anti-science and anti-Constitution (although they claim to be strict in that regard). We agree, but for very different reasons.

    • Sarah Hughes says:

      Kristin, the “conservative bunch” you refer to supports the Constitution 100% if it’s the APC. Have you taken a Constitution Class lately? I understand there are groups in the area giving them and it’s a good refresher!

      • Kristin Hoover says:

        The American Policy Center is a right-wing, “Tea Party” type organization who does not support good science….especially if it involves climate change and provides equally skewed interpretations of the Constitution. I’d love to take a class on the Constitution at the University of Chicago where our current President taught that subject or at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. No time/money. My views on the Constitution are more in line with Archibald Cox whom you’ll remember from Watergate, but I’ll remember from my personal interactions with him. Or, the day that I stood for hours just to be able to hear the great Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall speak. He was my personal hero. My views are similar to his in that the Constitution was not perfect because it left his people out when it counted them as 3/5ths of a person or excluded Indians or excluded people of my gender until my grandmother was finally able to vote against Warren G. Harding in 1920. The Constitution has been amended 27 times and still we can’t get it amended to prevent Federal and State governments from denying men and women equality of rights under the law. George Washington said, “I wish the Constitution which is offered had been made more perfect, but I sincerely believe it is the best that could be obtained at this time; and…a constitutional door is opened for amendment hereafter.” The Federalist Papers are interesting, albeit, hardly light reading. I recommend Akhil Reed Amar’s scholarly research on the Constitution. The facts are interesting enough without the need for a group like the American Policy Center to spin them in a convoluted and factually incorrect direction to justify their anti-science or other objectionable beliefs.

  3. Sarah Hughes says:

    Kristen, the Township got involved because they have been indoctrinated by the EPA/State/County that the environment comes first: nature over humanity. “Sustainable Development” is racing across the nation as citizens in community after community are learning what their township planners are actually up. Part of the agenda for Sustainable Development is to take away private property rights, and control everything landowners do. Ask your township officials, your County Commissioners: Name one thing I can do on my property without your permission?

    See Tom DeWeese, American Policy Center.

  4. Kristin Hoover says:

    I live across the street and was notified of the zoning information and the hearing dates. I’ve never had a concern or a complaint so I didn’t go to the meeting. People need to remember that they moved to the houses that once stood on farmland not so long ago. This never was a city. I’m sorry the Township felt it had to get involved in a matter nobody else seemed to care about, force people to pay lawyers and now I’m sure she is upset, the lawyers got paid and for what? Has anybody seen how Alpacas live in other countries? Let’s concentrate on the speed of the vehicles that go past her house and mine on RT52 or the people who very frequently feel they don’t have to stop when the school bus has the sign out and the lights flashing. When resources are tight and people are struggling, let’s keep our focus on real issues and using the Township money wisely.

  5. steve says:

    Maybe she should forgo the Alpacos, and switch to hogs….I bet the neighbors would much rather have the Alpacos, lol.

  6. Sarah Hughes says:

    Isn’t it typical: “…there has never been a complaint against the owner, the Large Animal Protection agency and a reputable veterinarian both testified in favor of the animals living conditions”…..yet the Supervisors and the EPA know best about the use of ‘your land’.

    This is nothing more than the taking of private property rights which the government is aggressively doing under the guise of environmentalism

    Nora Margetich, stand your ground (or that of your Alpacos!)…
    The Constitution declares that it is the purpose of government (your local government also) to protect and not violate inalienable God-given rights, including the right of using one’s own property;

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