The Township created a “rural residential” RR zoning category in 1997 to provide a buffer between agricultural districts and more densely populated residential areas in the township. Those areas were zoned R1, R2, and R5 along with adjacent residential parts of Vicksburg. A buffer, for example, could reduce complaints by residents about nearby large livestock production operations–where they are permitted–odors included. Property zoned for RR recognized larger residential lots, allowed raising livestock for personal use and permitted crop farming.
The state Department of Agriculture, when asked, noted recently that eight sites within RR districts met state guidelines for large-scale livestock production. The guidelines called GAAMPS, supersede zoning regulations.
The Planning Commission through 2015 considered two options:
Option 1 eliminated agricultural production uses up to now permitted in the RR districts, including large-scale livestock operation. Small numbers of livestock would be permitted. Crop farming would be nonconforming. Current farming operations would be permitted to continue. Large-scale livestock operations would be required to be located a minimum of 1,500 feet from an RR-zoned property line, because that is included in the GAAMPS and not included as part of option 1.
Option 2 created a separate “smaller parcel” RR-SP category for parcels between two and five acres. Agricultural uses would be permitted for RR parcels five acres and larger. New agricultural uses would not be permitted for parcels smaller than five acres, but existing crop farming could expand within the parcel. Parcels in RR zones which are non-conforming because they’re less than two acres would be rezoned to R1 or R2.
Option 2 was turned down by the Brady Township Board at a special meeting in November. The choices facing the planning commission at the December meeting were option 1, with some slight wording changes approved way back in early summer or do nothing. They ended up choosing option 1 with a split vote of 4-2 at the December meeting and instructed the planning commission to consider either option 1 or to do nothing.