28-year-old Andrew Charlesworth of Fenton Township is charged with possessing chickens on property and no zoning permit. Charlesworth, who resides on Grove Park Road, has kept the chickens on his property since August of 2016.

Township officials say Charlesworth is violating the municipality’s zoning ordinance as his property is not zoned to allow for farm animals. The ordinance is only enforced on a complaint basis, meaning a neighbor would have to bring the issue to the township for them to act.

Charlesworth’s attorney says this selective enforcement makes the law confusing and vague. He questions whether it is constitutional for a municipality to criminalize a zoning ordinance violation. An attorney for the township says it’s actually quite common.

The issue will come down to whether a judge feels the ordinance is invalid. If it is found to be valid, Charlesworth faces a $500 fine and two years’ probation for the violation. He is scheduled to be arraigned in 67th District Court Monday. (DK)