The Plymouth Common Council sent a zoning amendment for the R-1 district, which is basically the 2-mile zone, back to the City Plan Commission for reconsideration during their meeting Monday evening, August 14th.

Plymouth Planning consultant Ralph Booker presented the change approved by the Plan Commission.  He explained that the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals has had several requests to permit animals in the R-1 zoning district.  Some of the requests have been for chickens, 4-H projects, or just family consumption.  Booker said most of those requests have been approved and his recommendation was to amend the current zoning ordinance which only permits horses in the R-1 zoning. 

The ordinance presented to the Common Council Monday night limited animal production to 4-H projects and home consumption with sales limited to the sale of unprocessed agricultural commodities grown on the same farm.  It also limited livestock to 1 horse, donkey, mule, cow, dairy stock, goat, hog, sheep, or other similar animal per quarter-acre lot. Poultry must be kept in a fully enclosed secure pen of no more than 128 square feet that includes an enclosed coop which provides a minimum of 2 square feet and an open run area providing a minimum of 8 square feet.

Several citizens who live in the 2-mile zoning district attended the meeting and had concerns about allowing farm animals on such a small piece of land (1/4 acre).  They felt the variance requests allow the neighbors to be informed and attend a public meeting to get details and ask questions.    There were also three letters of concern permitting platted subdivisions to house farm animals. 

Councilman Don Ecker said he’s had several conversations since the last meeting and felt the Plan Commission needed to provide more details in the amendment.  

Councilman Greg Compton said his recommendation would require a 5-acre lot for animals.

Councilman Robert Listenberger said he likes the review process with a variance request. 

West Township Trustee Terry Borggren had concerns that a few subdivisions are in the R-1 zoning district and allowing farm animals on such small lots wouldn’t be neighbor friendly. 

Randy Danielson lives in the Oakcrest subdivision and while it is zoned R-2 wouldn’t impact them but he said having farm animals in the backyards that are adjoining doesn’t provide an element of protection to neighbors.

Marge Snyder told the city council members that realtors should be required to inform potential buyers of the requirements. 

The Plymouth Common Council motioned to send the amendment back to the Plan Commission for additional work and details.  They also suggested working on the ordinance amendment in their September meeting and conducting another public hearing on the changes in their October meeting.