If you purchase a home near a busy airport, you have no right to complain about the noise or traffic once you move it. The airport was there before you were. You should have known what you were getting into.

But how about if you purchase a home in quiet nearby Berkley, Massachusetts and one of the neighbors decides to open a petting zoo complete with a waterslide?

Many residents of Berkley, on the other side of the beautiful Taunton River, are up in arms over a proposal by Ledir Rodriques, owner of 11 Babbit Way. Rodriques is seeking a special permit from the town for a petting zoo, pony and horseback rides, and even a waterslide on his five-acre farm. Rodriques promises to operate the petting zoo during limited hours and by invitation only. He says the petting zoo would only operate Thursday through Sunday.

Neighbors say he is already operating the thing without a permit, creating lots of noise and traffic in the otherwise quiet town. They are not happy campers.

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The Taunton Daily Gazette has an article on the debate that is worth reading. The paper reports the matter went before the Board of Selectmen on April 28 when many neighbors unloaded their concerns. A decision on the permit request is expected on June 9.

Some would say that the opponents of this project are simply being snobs and are seeking to deny Rodriques his right to develop his property as he sees fit. I disagree.

Just as the man who purchases a home near a busy airport has to expect noise and traffic, the owner of property in a small, rural community such as Berkley should expect that residents would want to retain the peaceful character of their community. The project just doesn't appear to fit there.

Not being a lawyer, my opinion is not based on the law – it's just an opinion. I'd be curious to hear what you think about all of this.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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