Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

January 12, 2022
Planning commission reclassifies miniature pigs

Rescue operation, now relocated, initiated change request 

A Tooele County resident’s rescue operation for potbelly pigs ran afoul of the Tooele County’s animal unit ordinance.

The Tooele County Planning Commission voted to recommend that the County Council adopt a revision to the County’s farm animal units per acreage table during their Jan. 5, 2022 meeting.

The proposed revision was carried forward from the planning commission’s Nov. 17, 2021 meeting.

However, the property owner that requested the change told the planning commission that due to pending action against her and the indefinite waiting time for a change, she sold her property and relocated to a place where her operation doesn’t conflict with local ordinances.

Stephanie Smith, who owned property near Stockton, initiated the revision after the county started code enforcement action against her for exceeding the maximum number of animals allowed on her property.

Smith was operating a rescue operation for potbelly pigs. Tooele County Code enforcement and planning staff received multiple complaints about Smith’s property regarding the number of animals on the property and the nuisance they create, according to a staff report on the proposed animal unit change.

The animal unit table currently lists swine, including potbelly pigs, as a “large animal.” Large animals count as one animal unit, with a limit of four animal units per acre, in any combination of animals.

Smith first requested a conditional use permit as an animal rescue for a 50% increase in animals, but due to the number of potbellies the request was not able to be granted, according to Tooele County planning staff. She then requested that a new animal size class, “medium-large,” be added to the County’s animal unit table.

As part of her request, Smith submitted research showing that miniature pigs require less outdoor space and produce less waste than other animals classified as large animals in the County’s animal unit table.

The proposed medium-large category would include miniature pigs, llamas and alpacas at the rate of two medium-large animals equal to one animal unit. That change would allow eight, instead of four, miniature or potbelly pigs per acre.

Even with that change, Smith expressed an interest in a future conditional use permit for  more animals for her rescue operation, according to planning staff.

The planning commission decided to proceed with recommending a change, even though the applicant has sold her property and no longer needs the ordinance change.


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