At recent City of Mountain City Council meetings, many local residents have made detailed and passionate presentations seeking ordinance changes/revisions that would allow residents to take care of livestock within the city limits. For more than 30 minutes, supporters presented comparisons to similar size and larger cities in the area and what limits they had when it came to chickens, for example. They lined up the University of Missouri Extension to possibly provide free workshops to help residents who may be interested in raising a limited number of chickens so it can be done properly. They also included a plan to work closely with Animal Control and provided a list of benefits on what is described as urban farming.
Tagged in the same ordinance is the issue of residents seeking to have livestock who have five acres more of land in the city limits. There are a couple of things going on in that situation. If someone currently owns more than five acres in the city limits before a livestock ordinance was passed, that landowner was grandfathered into the situation. This means the livestock restriction does not affect them.
But if they attempt to sell the property, at that time a livestock restriction is in effect. So a current landowner might be trying to sell 10-20 acres with some of that land within the city limits only to find out that potential buyers will not be able to put livestock on the land. (My hope is to take a closer look at the situation of one family going through this in our next issue.)
City Administrator Tim Schook expressed his disagreement with the policy during the May meeting. “I disagree with the policy if it is in the city limits as the city manager that you can’t have agriculture because it is going to make it very hard to try and convince people with acreage to come into the city for the greater good down the road,” he said.
In spite of the urban farming topic hitting the agenda over the past few months at meetings, a vote regarding a possible study on the urban farming issue was voted down 5-3 in the July meeting.
As vocal supporters said themselves in the July meeting, they will be back and ready to discuss these issues yet again in the August City Council meeting. Valid points for or against have been made by both supporters and critics of the ordinance. Though supporters did say they want to know more from those who cast the “No” votes. Problem is there has been a vote, which just kept the current ordinance in tact. To me, it appears the best answer going forward is for there to be some sort of a compromise. It’s clear an ordinance needs to be drafted to make sure those on both sides of this issue can be happy with a compromised outcome. At the end of the day, some folks want chickens and they see folks in nearby towns being able to do that. Also, some land that looks agricultural actually has livestock restrictions tied to potential new owners.
Some sort of compromise is needed for the ordinance in addressing these topics.
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