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Vandals strike thrice at Foxley Farm

Renatta Signorini
| Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013, 1:51 p.m.

A white garage door at a Ligonier Township farm was defaced this week with a spray-painted message.

Maggie Nied said the message reads “Bye pig Magi be gone.”

“It's very eerie,” she said.

Nied and her husband own 60-acre Foxley Farm on Barron Road and raise livestock. The operation's owners have been in the news for the past year as they have unsuccessfully sought permission from township officials to use the facility for weddings, fundraisers, corporate outings and farm stays.

Nied said recent vandalism at her home may have been in response to those attempts.

The planning commission in October abandoned work on revising township zoning ordinances sought by the Nieds.

For the past few weeks, pigs at the farm have been released from their pen and a dead skunk was draped over a sign on the property, Nied said.

Police Chief Mike Matrunics said police have no suspects in an ongoing investigation.

Because there were multiple incidents at the same property, he said, it appears the acts could possibly be retaliation, or linked to a vendetta, against what the Nieds want to do at their farm.

He said if the individuals who committed the acts are found, they could be subject to charges such as harassment, criminal mischief and cruelty to animals.

Matrunics advises anyone with information that could aid in the investigation to call police at 724-238-5105.

The garage, which is a quarter-mile off the road, was vandalized with black spray-paint overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday, Nied said.

“It is scary,” she said. “It's not something you would expect for this area.”

The Nieds purchased the property two years ago and applied for a zoning variance a year ago to host farm-supporting activities. The zoning hearing board rejected the request in the spring. Neighbors have voiced opposition to the plans.

Several previously scheduled weddings were held at the farm this year but other events were prohibited from being scheduled under a settlement both parties reached after township officials sought an injunction to prevent activities there.

The planning commission was asked during the summer to amend and establish zoning ordinances that would permit the Nieds to use their property for commercial purposes. Numerous residents spoke for and against the proposal at public meetings.

Commission members mulled over the potential zoning changes for a few months before abandoning the proposals.

Nied is not sure if she will try to clean off the paint or replace the garage door. She said she is concerned about the vandalism.

“I'm just really, really uncomfortable about it,” she said. “I'm concerned for my animals.”

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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