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Zoning: Zoning Board Can't Limit Alpaca Exception To Particular Owners

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

A zoning board violated well-established zoning law by allowing landowners to keep four alpacas on their residential property but limiting that right to them specifically and not allowing the right to run with the land.

Facts: Todd and Tina Sposato keep four alpacas on their residential property in the Town of Hopkinton, Rhode Island. They consider the alpacas to be pets. Their neighbor, Amber Preston, lives in a single-family home next door and apparently does not enjoy the Sposatos' alpacas. In 2011, the Town's Zoning Officer issued a zoning violation to the Sposatos because he concluded that the alpacas were ''farm animals'' or ''livestock,'' which are not permitted on residential property. The Sposatos appealed the notice, arguing that their alpacas were ''domestic animals,'' which are permitted on residential property. The zoning board conducted four hearings and eventually issued a nine-page decision that overturned the zoning officer's decision and concluded that the Sposatos' alpacas were indeed ''domestic animals'' and not ''farm animals.''

The zoning board also issued four conditions to the Sposatos keeping the alpa[...]

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