July 11, 2008

Plainfield’s Pig Controversy is Now a County Issue

By Wade Coggeshall, Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, Ind.

Jul. 10--DANVILLE -- Hendricks County Commissioners on Tuesday referred the complaint from the Peacock Lake Homeowners Association to the county's Plan Commission.

The problem stems from two pigs, named "Pigilo" and "Margie," being raised by Cindy Whyde a mile south of downtown Plainfield on South County Road 700 East. Whyde's two-acre property abuts the back yards of a couple of Peacock Lake homeowners. The pigpen is only about 15 feet from their properties.

"The sight of these pigs is unsightly, let alone the smell that comes from them," Luann Mitchell, Peacock Lake HOA president, told the commissioners. "All of these homeowners cannot open any windows or sit on their back porches all summer long."

This is the second consecutive summer Whyde and her family have raised pigs as a 4-H project. While Mitchell and other Peacock Lake residents understand 4-H's intent, they say the proximity of the pigs to their homes is affecting their quality of life, as well as their property values.

"We in Peacock Lake try very hard to live by the covenants we have as a community to keep up our neighborhood so that our property values remain good," Mitchell said. "But with this pig situation, several homeowners have considered moving but are unable to sell as long as the pigs remain each year."

The Whydes only keep the pigs from May to July. But neighbors say the problem lingers long after.

"Even after the 4-H fair is long gone, the waste still remains," Mitchell said, adding Whyde keeps compost piles and has been seen spreading them over the hill on her property. "The smell seems to settle in the valley and get stagnated because of no air movement."

Nonetheless, the pigs constitute no health violations. The County Health Department inspected Whyde's property in June after receiving a complaint. They determined there were no signs of possible water pollution or mismanagement of the pigpen. Because the property is zoned rural-residential, agricultural uses are permitted.

The matter is now in the county's hands because Whyde's property is outside of Plainfield's town limits. Peacock residents want the zoning changed so that more space between city and county property is established.

"It's just an unfortunate situation, and it could happen to anybody," Mitchell said. "We're trying to fight it for ourselves and others in the community."

The plan commission next meets at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 12 at the Hendricks County Government Center, 355 S. Washington St., Danville.

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