Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Preventing pigs in the sticks

Out in Grey Forest, a really small town just northwest of San Antonio, a girl wants to raise some pigs for a 4-H project. But her family has found an interesting predicament posed by the town's revised animal regulations.

[The Stone family's] request for a variance to raise four swine on their property was rejected after lengthy discussion at the Sept. 23 council meeting. The city ordinance allows up to two animals on a minimum of three-quarters of an acre for 4-H projects. A one-acre property allows for up to four animals, but the Stone’s property is .90 of an acre.

The ordinance also requires that the pens have a 150-foot setback from the property line regardless of lot size, and that is where the problem occurs. The Stones this time were requesting a variance from the setback requirement because it is mathematically impossible for that to happen.

The Stones began wondering what size lot they would have to have to meet the requirement as written and turned to a math professor from UTSA, Sandy Norman, who spoke in their behalf at the Oct. 21 meeting.

An acre is 208.71 feet by 208.71 feet in size. Therefore there is no physical way to locate a pen to house the swine with a 150-foot setback.

Norman told the council that the smallest lot size possible to comply with the setbacks as written would be 2.06 acres and the pen would have to be located squarely in the middle of that property.


“They approved us to have six [pigs] just two years ago,” Laura said. “The exact same City Council. And then the minute they approved it–they approved it in September– and then in March 2007 they amended the ordinance.” The new amendment required the setback.

(from the Northwest Weekly)

The Stones got their variance to have the pigs, but with some restrictions. And they wonder what future city decisions might have in store for them.

Brilliant move, or magnificent blunder on the part of the Grey Forest City Council? You decide.


AlanDP said...

If they try to both raise four pigs and live upon only .9 acre they are going to regret it. She'd be better off raising rabbits.

Albatross said...

Mmm. Rabbit stew.