Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

January 17, 2013

Large livestock in city a concern for some

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat — While the rules set aside by those governing the city of Pauls Valley are always subject to discussion and alteration, oftentimes more than one side may need to be heard before changes are made.

When area resident Larry Boone raised concerns at a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Tuesday about the ownership of large livestock in residential areas, he not only brought forward important points like the overall impact on a neighborhood, but a question on whether or not the current city code of ordinances needed to be changed to reflect the times.

For those like Assistant City Manager Don Wageman, the opportunity to address the matter must be handled carefully since it could chart new territory in that the code does not officially separate livestock from other animals other than how to contain them and would require time to determine what would be said in the code language.

“Right now there’s no reference to zoning in the city ordinances, it just says livestock… it don’t say residential, it don’t say commercial, agricultural, so there’s some options there,” said Wageman, noting how the meeting was a follow-up and referral to Boone’s appearance at a city council meeting the week before when he had submitted a letter on the subject.

“We’ve got a lot that we can look at, but Larry’s letter reflects on just residential neighborhoods situations, but even with that we’ve got a lot to look at.”

Boone came before the zoning board to expand on his thoughts expressed in the letter, which views large animals like horses and cows near neighborhoods as a deterrent to sustaining property values and re-development of residential districts.

Occasionally helping bring in new homes and restore neighborhoods, he feels people would not be encouraged to live next to an open lot if they knew they had to deal with the possibility of having those large animals nearby and would discourage other developers from building new homes in areas that need restoration.

“In the residential districts there shouldn’t be any large livestock,” said Boone, who explained how practices like riding a horse to school or raising a cow for milk are not the usual standard for people in Pauls Valley these days, let alone having to deal with issues like odor or sanitation.

“I’d like you to consider your own house where you live… I’m just interested in changing that to the security of home ownership if you have a lot and a house in a residentially zoned area that you could know you aren’t faced with the possibility of having a large animal boarded next to you.”

Depending on how any changes are written, if this were to pass as a law, board member Kevin Driskill noted that it would most likely be handled on a case by case basis.

He shared Wageman’s thoughts that all factors should be considered before a decision is made and Boone said he was OK with that as long as something got moving before too long.

This could mean adding an ordinance to zoning under nuisances, which would require relocation of animals in a residential city lot within a certain time period. One would also need to think about seeing if there are areas of town that could benefit from having livestock like using goats to trim hard to maintain land for weed control.

Though no decision was made by the zoning board, Wageman did note that their next meeting would focus primarily on the matter with an invitation for people to weigh in with their own views on livestock in the city. That meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 19 at city hall.

“We really have to weigh everyone’s pros and cons,” said Driskill. “All we can do as this committee is recommend an action to the city council and they take action.”