Guidelines set so boy with autism can keep his therapy ducks
JENISON, MI — A highly publicized zoning dispute involving a boy and his therapy ducks reached a resolution with Georgetown Township officials Wednesday night.
The township’s Zoning Board of Appeals approved a variance establishing 18 guidelines to allow for the ducks at the Dykes’ property on Van Buren Street.
Among the main points addressed in the variance were that the family keep the ducks within an enclosed cage, except when outside with a family member, and the establishment of cage setbacks from neighboring properties.
Dylan Dyke, 12, and his two emotional-support ducks have been at the center of the zoning dispute for weeks. The Dyke family sought a variance, basically an exception to the zoning rules, to allow the ducks to remain on the residential property after some neighbors complained.
Mark and Jen Dyke expressed relief that their son, who has high-functioning autism, will be allowed to keep his ducks, Nibbles and Bill.
“It’s official, it’s done, the township has approved for Dylan to keep his ducks, that’s what we are most happy about,” Mark Dyke said. “Finally this is over with the township and now we can move with the HOA (Home Owners Association) and wrap up with them, hopefully this weekend, and put all this behind us.”
The Zoning Board of Appeals had postponed any potential vote on the issue at its Aug. 22 meeting. Board members discussed at last month’s meeting wanting more time to work through requirements to allow for the ducks at the Dykes’ property.
Members of the community filled the township hall for a second consecutive zoning board meeting concerning the family’s variance request.
The framework of the duck variance was the township’s chicken ordinance.
Among the key points approved in the guidelines are:
- No more than two ducks will be kept at any time on the property.
- The ducks shall be provided with an kept within a completely enclosed covered coop, which shall not be larger than 80 square feet or taller than 8 feet.
- The coop shall be located in the back yard and no closer than 10 free from any property line or 20 feet from any neighboring house.
- The coop area shall be kept clean and neat at all times.
- Ducks shall be allowed outside of the coop for interacting with a family member.