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Thread: Enforcing livestock ordinances after the fact

  1. #1
    Cyburbian graciela's avatar
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    Enforcing livestock ordinances after the fact

    I have seen these types of things come up more and more in the news as cities sprawl out. We have a little bit of it starting where I am at, but we are handling it in a fair manner.

    Someone has livestock, it was legal to have it when they started having livestock on the property. Sometime in the 80's or 90's an ordinance is put in place to ban livestock in that zone but no one ever pays attention. Now, the suburbanites move in and love the country but hate livestock. They decide to start enforcing the ordinance but conveniently forget that some of this livestock is grandfathered in. They harass and bully the livestock owners who often don't bother to defend themselves and give up. This article is a good example:
    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/...e/5943222.html

    I am sorry but there are a lot of people out there who have no clue about owning livestock and are either afraid of it or insert themselves into people's lives and tell them how to care for it. I have heard of people having animal control check on some blindfolded horses. The horses were simply wearing fly masks to protect their eyes and faces from flies. This little story is a good outline of some of the well intentioned people that just don't get it
    http://www.horseshoes.com/humor/hrsfire/yrhraron.htm
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  2. #2
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    Many of the towns around here hand out a "right to farm" pamphlet with every new home building permit to inform the exurbanites that there are certain "sites, sounds, and smells associated with rural life". For those who buy the McMansion secondhand (Can you imagine?) the town typically runs a notice in their newsletter once or twice a year. This way when they complain to the town board about "those tractors slowing my commute" or lets call it "dirt" on the road messing up their BMWs, the board has a little bit more of an ability to say buyer beware.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    ams is on the right track. In addition, several states have enacted "right to farm" statutes. Your ag extension agent might be a good resource.

  4. #4
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Sounds like they have legal, non-conforming rights to continue to operate.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian graciela's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    Sounds like they have legal, non-conforming rights to continue to operate.
    They do.

    I find these situations to be very frustrating. I have a friend that is having to prove that even though she is legal non-conforming, that she is compliant with the code that was in place 30 years ago when she first moved horses onto her property. If she is not, they are going to make her remove the horses. It seems silly that her county wants to put her through all of that. I think it is a bit of CYA on their part since they were originally trying to make her remove her horses saying that she was in violation of the current ordinance which bans livestock. She was distraught and ready to start finding homes until I looked through the code for her and found that she qualified as legal non conforming.

    Shouldn't code enforcement investigate before citing people? Ours do a really good job of checking with planning on anything they are not sure about.
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  6. #6
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    There is an old court ruling out of Nebraska that says livestock cannot be legal nonconforming. The ruling states that if ag uses were grandfathered, cities would not be able to grow. Uses such as livestock production are too much in conflict with residential uses to allow them to co-exist.

    It seems to me the attorney old me that this was an early 70's case.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  7. #7
    Cyburbian graciela's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by giff57 View post
    There is an old court ruling out of Nebraska that says livestock cannot be legal nonconforming. The ruling states that if ag uses were grandfathered, cities would not be able to grow. Uses such as livestock production are too much in conflict with residential uses to allow them to co-exist.

    It seems to me the attorney old me that this was an early 70's case.
    I am glad that they did not make such a ruling here! In our area, not allowing cities to spread out would be a good thing. I really like the way Lexington KY handles things with their PDR program.

    Wouldn't it be great if we could actually have some pocket farms in our cities, not so much with livestock but at the very least some gardens? I can see where industrial agriculture would not be compatible at all. We need to move away from that anyway.
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  8. #8
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by graciela View post
    Wouldn't it be great if we could actually have some pocket farms in our cities, not so much with livestock but at the very least some gardens? I can see where industrial agriculture would not be compatible at all. We need to move away from that anyway.
    In the future necessity (i.e. high cost of fuel) may require greater reliance on peri-urban agriculture, as opposed to the current industrial 'superfarm' economic model. I suspect as more people start living near smaller farm operations, they'll come to find out that residential and ag uses aren't necessarily oil and water (heck, farms close to population centers has pretty much been the rule since the dawn of civilization - it's things like bedroom communities developing in proximity to interstate highway exits that are the historic aberrations).
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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