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Farm animals to be allowed in some of Clinton’s residential areas

By Randy Bell

Clinton leaders agreed that people living on larger residential lots should be allowed to keep at least one farm animal. The question to be decided: how big should those lots have to be?

Over the course of several months, the Board of Aldermen had kicked around several numbers ranging from three acres to twenty—before approving a zoning ordinance amendment to make it five acres at their March 7 meeting.

Effective next month, Clintonians living in areas zoned Residential Estate with at least five acres can have a horse, cow, goat, pig, sheep, other farm animal or chickens for each three acres which can be set aside for the animal. There will be a limit of ten chickens, regardless of the lot size. And anyone hoping to raise chickens will be disappointed – roosters are not permitted. If more than two chickens are on any lot, they must be kept at least 150 feet from any adjoining property line or a street right-of-way.

Also, any fences or structures associated with the animals may be no closer than 150 feet from an adjoining property line or street right-of-way. The Board agreed that the amended ordinance would not supersede any existing or future subdivision covenants.

The original proposal called for a minimum lot size of three acres, but the Board agreed that was too small. Alderwoman-at-Large Ricki Garrett tried unsuccessfully to convince her colleagues to boost it to ten acres, saying she didn’t think people move into a city with the idea that they’ll have a pig next door.

“I’m concerned that five [acres] is still too small, in particular in these platted subdivisions,” Garrett said. “But I feel better about five than three. I’m just concerned that this is a problem that could get out of hand, if people begin to have more animals than they really need to have.”

Ward 1 Alderwoman Karen Godfrey told the Board that requiring at least ten acres would prevent people who own somewhat smaller lots from using their property the way they intended.
Ward 4 Alderman Chip Wilbanks has owned farm animals in the past, and he said he never had any complaints from his neighbors.

“In the five acres, you’d have one goat or one little pig – potbellied pig- or something,” said Wilbanks. “So you’re not talking about a lot of animals. And I think five acres was a good solution.”

Rob Logan and his wife own 143 acres on Williamson Road. He’d been asking the Board to rezone his property from Residential Estate to Agricultural so he could legally have farm animals. He said he’s okay with the amended ordinance, with one reservation: “I don’t understand why they limited it to ten chickens. But I don’t believe anybody is going to go out and count them.”

Logan said there are people with large lots in his part of Clinton who already have animals. But he said, with it not being legal until now, all it would have taken is one angry neighbor to turn them in.

The revised ordinance will take effect April 7. Those who have questions about this ordinance or others can contact Clinton’s Department of Community Development at 601-924-2256.


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