Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

July 23, 2020
Planning Commission looks at proposed animal numbers

The Tooele County Planning Commission is looking at new language to revise how the Tooele County Land Use ordinance regulates the number of farm animals in unincorporated Tooele County.

Trish DuClos, Tooele County planning staff, presented the proposed ordinance changes to the planning commission during their July 15 meeting at the Tooele County Building.

The proposed changes are the result of multiple public planning commission work sessions. The planning staff also met with some county residents to get their perspective on animal uses, according to DuClos.

Current language in the County Land Use Ordinance defines personal agriculture as the “keeping of not more than four domestic farm animals or ten fowl for the production of food for the sole use of the person occupying the premises.”

That definition applies to multiple use, agriculture, and rural residential zones in unincorporated Tooele County.

This regulation has caused frustration for many property owners in those zones, because it doesn’t take into consideration the acreage of property owned, according to DuClos.

The proposed new animal regulations take into consideration the zone in which the property is located, as well as the acreage that a property owner may own, according to the staff report on the ordinance changes.

In multiple use and agriculture zones the proposed new ordinance language allows property owners to self regulate the amount of animals on their property, as long as a nuisance, as defined in the County’s Land Use Ordinance, is not created on the property.

For rural residential zoned property, the proposed new ordinance allows four animal units, as defined in a new table added to the ordinance, for every 1-acre of property, with the minimum acreage for such animals of one-half acre.

In the new table, a large animal is defined as one animal unit. The table lists horse, mule, cow, and buffalo as large animals. 

Four medium animals equal one animal unit. Goat, sheep, swine, pony, llama, and alpaca are listed as medium animals. 

It takes six small animals, listed as rabbits, to equal one animal unit.

Ten fowl, described in the proposed table as chicken, duck, pigeon, turkey, peacock, or similar domesticated birds, equal one animal unit.

In any case, the maximum medium animals allowed on a rural residential property would be 20. The maximum small animals would be 30. The maximum fowl would be 50.

These limits do not include household pets.

For example, on a one-half acre rural residential lot a property owner could have two animal units, such as two large animals or a combination of animals not exceeding two animal units.

A 5-acre parcel would be allowed 20 animal units, such as 20 large animals or a combination of animals not to exceed 20 animal units.

For animals not listed, the language in the proposed ordinance change allows the zoning administrator to determine the number of animals allowed, based on the property and surrounding residential limits and restrictions.

The zoning administrator may decide to further restrict or revoke the property’s right to animals if the property owner allows, causes, or permits any animal nuisance, according to the new ordinance language.

The proposed ordinance allows animals permitted through the Department of Natural Resources that are kept in accordance with DNR regulations.

The proposed ordinance requires fully or partially enclosed maintained structures for the animals that are roofed and sited at the rear of the main building in compliance with the zone’s yard and setback requirements.

The ordinance restricts the number of farm animals in residential R-1- zones to one animal unit per lot. That means no large animals, and no medium animals — only rabbits and fowl in a combination that doesn’t exceed one animal unit.

No farm animals would be allowed in multiple residential R-M- zones.

The planning commission held a public hearing on the proposed ordinance changes on July 15, but they did not formally close the public hearing, which allows public comment to continue by mail or email.


Tim Gillie

Editor at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim has been writing for the Transcript Bulletin since October 2017. In February 2019 he was named as editor. In addition to being editor, Tim continues to write about Tooele County government, education, business, real estate, housing, politics and the state Legislature.A native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University, Tim became a journalist after a 20 year career with the Boy Scouts of America.

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