Licking County News

Agriculture committee

Group to suggest changes to farm animal measure Oct.1


Pataskala City Council's agriculture committee on Oct. 1 is expected to present some changes to the small farm animal ordinance introduced Sept. 17.

The original ordinance would allow city residents to keep small farm animals -- including bees, rabbits, ducks and chickens -- on lots of 5 acres or less.

On Sept. 17, several Council members questioned the number of bees that could be kept and how 4-H animals, which are not permanently kept, would be addressed.

The committee met Sept. 24 and agreed there should be further delineation in the ordinance.

Committee members said bees should be kept on lots of 2 acres or more. Chickens and rabbits could be kept on 10,000 square feet of property (nearly 2 acres) and hoofed animals, previously kept out of the original ordinance, could be allowed on 2 acres or more.

Councilman Bernard Brush, who chairs the agriculture committee, said the committee might want to limit residents to four hoofed animals on 5-acre lots.

Councilman Mike Compton asked if 4-H students would have to request a variance to keep animals in some areas.

Brush said they could show a hardship and apply for a variance, which in this case would go before City Council.

Brush had requested that louder poultry, such as roosters, be limited to lots of 2 to 5 acres and requested property owners get permission from neighbors to keep the animals.

Councilman Mike Fox said that could cause problems with neighbors. City Manager Tim Boland said it might also be hard to get consent.

Fox also requested the city remove the licensing from the legislation.

"In the U.S., I don't think we have to control everything everybody does," Fox said.

Boland asked that the legislation be clear so it is enforceable by the city's zoning inspector.

Fox asked that a copy of the legislation, with recommended changes, be presented to City Council Oct. 1.

In other business, Brush asked the committee if the city's legal firearms discharge zones need to be addressed; the committee members determined they did not.

A resident complained to council at the Sept. 17 meeting about gunfire in a neighbor's backyard, which is legal in two-thirds of Pataskala city limits.

Compton, who also works with the Pataskala Sportsman Club, said he met with the property owner who made the complaint and explained how the discharge zones operate.

He said the club, formed five years ago, tries to resolve issues by working with property owners and providing alerts about target practice and hunting seasons so all property owners are aware of potential gunfire.

Compton said the agriculture committee typically reviews the firearms discharge zones to ensure safety if a new business or subdivision is proposed.

He said individual homeowners can take their houses out of a discharge zone but they cannot remove a neighbor's home from the zone.