The Plymouth Plan Commission heard the recommendation of Planning Director Ralph Booker to amend the zoning ordinance for R-1 Rural Residential to allow small livestock operations. Booker said the idea is to try to open up the R-1 zoning district a little more to allow 4-H kids to raise a small number of farm animals and for family home consumption.
The proposal presented was to permit 1-acre lots or bigger to have a limited number of large animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, or hogs, to a limit of 2 per 4-Her and 10 chickens or ducks. The proposal would not permit large animals in subdivisions and also wouldn’t allow outside sales.
During the discussion Plan Commission member Beth Pinkerton suggested not permitting roosters.
Member Mark Gidley said he had a call from a resident in the R-1 zoning district who was concerned they would have to get rid of their chickens. Gidley explained that the city hasn’t enforced the zoning limitations for decades. He did say he wasn’t opposed to the amendment.
During the public hearing, Sandra Cornell of King Road had three concerns with the proposal. First limiting chickens to 10 won’t allow hobby farmers to keep producing eggs. She said it takes about 6 months before a chicken begins to lay and they only lay for about 18 months before they “peter out.” She said to keep chickens you need to purchase a few each year and butcher about the same amount or allow them to live out their lives of about 5 years. Secondly, roosters are good for rural living. They protect the chicken from predators. Thirdly, she said limiting their ability to sell extra eggs means limiting their chance for additional revenue for them or even someone raising bees who won’t be able to sell their honey. Cornell closed her comments by saying, “Modern homesteading is a thing and you’ve got us out here in the county.”
Don Schults lives in Plymouth but owns a farm at 7584 State Road 17 within the city’s zoning boundaries and operates a production cattle farm. While his property is grandfathered and won’t be impacted by the zoning amendment, his concern is the city limiting farm production acreage.
Plan Commission President, Doug Feece told him no one on the board has the intention of “squelching” agriculture in the rural residential zoning jurisdiction, they are trying to make it easier for families.
Plan Commission member Mark Gidley also suggested working with the county to get signage back up designating where the zoning districts end.
The Plymouth Plan Commission decided to unanimously table the zoning amendment for additional information.
Map: R-1 is the pinkish area on the north, east and south sides of Plymouth