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Town hears goat petition

By Susan Dickson
Staff Writer

The Carrboro Board of Aldermen will consider changes to the town’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 town’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.

“[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,” 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.

“If we amend our ordinance, I think we will see other communities look to us for forward thinking on these small acts of sustainability,” 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 town’s ordinance when her permit was denied.

Prince proposes changes that would allow residents to keep livestock up to 200 pounds. “Our thinking was that the only animals that this would be pertinent for would be small goats and pot-bellied pigs,” she said.

Several of Prince’s neighbors spoke in support of her petition and said they hardly noticed the goats’ presence. Prince said the goats don’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.

“My concern is about property values,” Spiegel said. “I’m not so much concerned about the goats themselves.

“I’m seeing a pattern in the Prince-Woolcock family to build this farm life in the neighborhood,” she continued. “What we’re talking about here is not changing the character of the neighborhood, but the character of Carrboro.”

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.

7 Responses

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  1. marilyn kille

    Has anyone “noticed” that fainting goats are meat goats — and not dairy goats??? This would be like trying to get milk out of a beef steer!!!

  2. John Kramer PE

    Stop it with the facts, already. Prince is the expert, not you!

  3. John Kramer PE

    The town apparently never even looked at Portland’s rules- if they had, they would have learned that her little farmette would have been in violation of their codes. Words from the Animal control folks, not me.

    Of course, in a facts optional world, it really does not matter.

    I hope this does not become a public health hazard.

  4. Marianne Prince

    Just as a clarification, all goats are classified in one of two breeds: meat and dairy, and this is based on their efficiency as food. A dairy goat such as a Nigerian dwarf can provide up to a gallon of milk a day.

    We chose our breed for multiple reasons: their docile and gentle nature and small stature, our need for invasive removal, the breed’s need for conservation, their non-climbing tendencies, as well as well as the bonus of milk. We are not the first people to milk fainting goats. There is a company in Seattle that makes gelato out of their milk.
    We have now had the goats for over 5 months. They are happy and healthy, have yet to make noise or ever get out of their fence, and provide us with a pint to a quart of milk every day. The milk is wonderful and is for our family consumption. The goats have completely cleared the honeysuckle and trumpet vines out of our yard. For the most part, they have left everything else alone, with the exception of low shrubs.
    Marilyn, I believe that you already have enough battles going on. I can’t quite understand why you have now decided to pick on me of all things. I was at the town hall meeting where farmers stood up and spoke on your behalf. I could have supported you. I remember a very eloquent man who spoke about the disappearing farmer. I couldn’t have agreed with him more. I have always been for protecting farmland and supporting farmers. At my home I teach children how to plant vegetables and care for animals, and encourage them to want to be farmers when they grow up. We raise money for Heifer International by selling our seeds, our produce, and compost tea, because they teach impoverished people in third world countries how to raise their own food. We do this because I strongly believe that farming is one the most important jobs a person can do.

    People my age don’t choose to go into farming, even those who grew up doing it. People don’t encourage their kids to grow up and be farmers. And you have to admit, it is not exactly a lucrative career move. Look around and count how many farmers there are my age. How many young adults are able to afford the costs of purchasing a farm (for those who like me, didn’t inherit one), or afford the machinery involved. How many young adults my age were born into, and decided to pursue a different career, and left the family farm behind. Look around and ask yourself this:
    Who do you think is going to be growing our food 30 years from now?

    Now look around and watch the Targets, the Bed Bath and Beyonds, and all of the other monolithic developments as they continue to encroach on every last inch that was once farmland. The land is disappearing faster than it can be conserved.

    And simultaneously while the farmer and the farmland continue to disappear, the need for food is rising.

    It is completely feasible for goats, as well as chickens and ducks, to be raised on lots smaller than 2 acres. A lot has changed in the last 20 years. Food is a bigger concern than ever, and people should have more freedom in being able to raise eggs and milk in addition to vegetables. That is how my grandparents did it.

    John, don’t fret about the public health hazard. I believe your HOA will protect you.

  5. John Kramer PE

    I don’t need an HOA to protect me, and I am sure my BOA (Board of Aldermen) is too busy patting themselves on the back about your little farmette to help me. I am very grateful that I am upwind of you, too.

    Good luck with your goats, and watch out for Duke Power- they take their right of way pretty seriously and have no qualms about moving you out of their way, if they need to. They need to keep the lights on, you know.

  6. Katherine Williams

    “This would be like trying to get milk out of a beef steer!!!”

    Steers are sterile males. They give no milk. But all female ruminants give milk. How else could they feed their babies? For instance, Angus cattle have excellent milk.

    Yay for any citizens willing to keep and milk goats. Goats are quieter, less expensive, and less smelly than dogs. Also, they give wonderfully wholesome refreshing delicious milk.

    Has anyone noticed that the town of Carrboro is now using goats to control weeds in our parks?

  7. John Kramer PE

    Goat-o-rama. As I have said before, Carrboro is the goat capital of the world. Excluding Afganistan of course.

    Maybe we should rename Carrboro to Afganistan. They have been looking for a new name lately.

    Now us taxpayers have to listen to Goat apoligists. I thought it was bad enough reading about the BOCC and their “car assaulting get out of jail free Dan Coleman” etc etc apologists.

    If only the people who actually paid for this feel good, eco fascist tomfoolery knew what they were paying our Board of Aldermen for, at $6,000 to $10,000 a clip per household, then maybe, just maybe, the goat freaks would go away after they are voted out of office by people who are normal, aka not goat huggers.

    One can only hope. And elections are on the way. Get out and vote, taxpayers!

    I am so disappointed in the way the Carrboro Citizen has transformed itself into yet another mouthpiece for the Town of Carrboro/Afganistan ever since the loan they got from Carrboro. News reporting at its worst. So much for independent reporting.

    Seems like the last source of “real” factual news is the Herald Sun. My subscription has been a breath of fresh air, in a goat- ridden environment.