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Farmington Okays Horse Ordinance, Introduces Change to Livestock Definition

Patrick Thomas says he'll start planning to bring two miniature horses onto his property.

Farmington officials adopted an ordinance Monday that will allow the owners of four large properties to keep horses on their property, under certain conditions.

For Patrick Thomas, the change means he'll start building structures and making plans to acquire two miniature horses on his 3-acre property. 

"I'm definitely happy about it," said Thomas, who has been advocating for the change since officials made amendments to the city's animal ordinance earlier this year. "Now, I know what I can do." 

Thomas said he plans to have two horses. "They are herd animals. They get a little unhappy if you only have one," he said. 

Among other restrictions, the new ordinance requires structure setbacks of 175 feet from neighboring homes and requires corrals to be set back from property lines. It applies to only four properties that are 2 acres or larger, with one horse allowed on 2 acres, with an additional horse for each additional full acre. 

Mayor pro tem Bill Galvin cast the lone "no" vote, as he did when the ordinance was introduced at the last council meeting. Galvin said he objects to exceptions being carved out for a small number of property owners in the city's zoning ordinances. 

"I'd rather just be more consistent," he said. "I wasn't presented with a compelling argument in favor of it." 

Later in the meeting, officials introduced an ordinance that would amend the animal ordinance definition of livestock to exclude horses. "Livestock" would be defined to include, but not be limited to, mules, donkeys, cattle, sheep, goats, buffaloes, swine, chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys. They'll take up adoption of the ordinance at their Jan. 22, 2013 meeting. 

In a memo to council members, city manager Vince Pastue explained the change is necessary to be consistent with the new zoning code. 

Council members this summer banned the raising of chickens, a move also connected to the animal ordinance.

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