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Horse Ordinance Headed for Farmington Planning Commission Public Hearing

The proposed new rules would require fencing and establish lot size requirements and setbacks for those who want to keep horses on their property.

Should Farmington residents with large lots be able to keep horses on their property? 

Planning commission members on Monday set a Nov. 12 public hearing on a proposed ordinance that would allow the animals on lots of 2 acres or larger, with a limit of two horses on a 2-acre lot and one additional horse for each additional full acre. 

This is the second proposed ordinance to emerge since the city amended its animal ordinance earlier this year. In June, the city council voted down a proposed ordinance that would have allowed residents to raise chickens. 

Planning consultant Sherrin Hood from LSL Planning said any structures for the horses must be set back 15 feet from property lines and 175 feet back from residential dwellings. But most of the discussion centered around requirements for a 5-foot-high fence.

Commissioner John Scott expressed his concern that a horse would be able to reach over the fencing and get into a neighbor's vegetation, because under the city's ordinances, a fence can be constructed right up to a property line.

While commissioners discussed the possibility of raising the height requirement, commissioner David Gronbach said, "I don't know that I would want a 6-foot cyclone fence next to me." 

Code enforcement officer John Koncsol noted that the fencing considered in the ordinance doesn't strictly meet the definition of a "fence", but would be more of an enclosure or corral. Hood agreed to "decipher between the two" in the draft of the ordinance that's brought forward for the public hearing. 

Resident Patrick Thomas, who wants to raise a miniature horse on his 3-acre property, told commissioners that in his brief review of the proposal, he had concerns about fencing and proposed setbacks. He said he hoped that if the ordinance is passed, the setbacks would be such that he wouldn't have to come back for a variance. 

Jim Sparks October 09, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Ah...the weighty stuff of Farmington officialdom. I'm thinking of buying some ducks, a pot-bellied pig and a llama. That should keep council busy for some time....
Beth Montalvo October 09, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Jim Sparks: Thanks for the laugh.
Faith Brower October 09, 2012 at 07:18 PM
The animals that are already at folk's homes better be grandfathered in --- or this Farmington resident will be very upset! Some of these critters are like family to their owners....please think about everyone's welfare, including the animals, before creating new "ordinances", City of Farmington!
srx586sxr October 10, 2012 at 12:56 AM
I would error on the side of caution when dealing with City Council. It is apparent based on recently passed ordinances that Council has a certain "image" that they want to uphold and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if horses didn't fit that profile. Expect to hear "we are a city of almost 80,000 and horses belong in our city like a "bowling alley belongs in a library".

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