By Susan Dickson
The Carrboro Board of Aldermen will consider changes to the townâ€™s livestock ordinance that would allow residents to keep small livestock on smaller residential lots, board members said Tuesday.
Resident Marianne Prince petitioned the board to modify the townâ€™s ordinance to allow residents to keep such animals as goats or pot-bellied pigs on smaller lots. The current ordinance, crafted by the board 19 years ago, requires residents to have 40,000 square feet in order to keep any type of livestock.
â€œ[The ordinance] puts all livestock, except for fowl and rabbits, in a single category requiring the same acreage for a 25-pound pygmy goat as for a 2,000-pound bull,â€ Prince said.
Prince cited a number of other cities and towns, including Seattle, Portland, Ore. and Nashville, that have ordinances allowing residents to keep goats on smaller lots.
â€œIf we amend our ordinance, I think we will see other communities look to us for forward thinking on these small acts of sustainability,â€ she said.
Prince bought two miniature fainting goats about five weeks ago and applied for a permit to keep the goats on her property on Cathy Road in the Windwood subdivision. However, she learned that she was in violation of the townâ€™s ordinance when her permit was denied.
Prince proposes changes that would allow residents to keep livestock up to 200 pounds. â€œOur thinking was that the only animals that this would be pertinent for would be small goats and pot-bellied pigs,â€ she said.
Several of Princeâ€™s neighbors spoke in support of her petition and said they hardly noticed the goatsâ€™ presence. Prince said the goats donâ€™t make any noise and will provide milk and cheese for her family while helping to teach neighborhood children about sustainability.
However, Dixie Spiegel, a nearby resident, said she opposed the proposed ordinance changes.
â€œMy concern is about property values,â€ Spiegel said. â€œIâ€™m not so much concerned about the goats themselves.
â€œIâ€™m seeing a pattern in the Prince-Woolcock family to build this farm life in the neighborhood,â€ she continued. â€œWhat weâ€™re talking about here is not changing the character of the neighborhood, but the character of Carrboro.â€
Prince also has a chicken coop and has built a French drain with a bio-retention pond to improve the drainage on her property and allow her to garden.
Board members said they would refer the item to staff, after which they would likely hold a public hearing if they considered changing the ordinance. Board members also said they would like to allow Prince to keep her goats in the meantime.
Town Manager Steve Stewart said the town has not received any complaints about the goats, adding that animal control staff have indicated that they would not penalize Prince.
In other town business, the board scheduled a public hearing on the Smith Level Road improvement plan for April 21. In addition, the board rescheduled for May 19 a public hearing on the proposed Colleton Crossing subdivision.