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Granite Quarry’s new math: One animal unit equals five chickens

GRANITE QUARRY — In the recent past, town employees have often seen residents walk into Town Hall and ask, “Can I keep chickens?”

Granite Quarry Town Planner Steve Blount and others almost always have answered that chickens are no problem, thinking town ordinances did not address the issue. But Blount says they actually do.

Both the town’s Unified Development Ordinance (generally the document spelling out zoning requirements) and the Code of Ordinances have regulations governing livestock.

The problem was, Blount said, they seemed to be at odds with each other.

The Board of Aldermen agreed with Blount’s recommendations Monday night on tweaking those ordinances and spelling out more clearly when chickens and other farm animals are allowed inside the town limits and how they must be managed.

Here are some of the main points:

• For cattle, goats, sheep, horses, chickens, cows, llamas, alpacas, ostriches and similar animals, there has to be a minimum lot size of 2 acres.

• Not more than one of the above animals is allowed to be kept, maintained or stabled per acre, although an exception is made for chickens. Five chickens equal one animal unit, so 2 acres is adequate for 10 chickens.

• The keeping of hogs in town is not permitted.

• Pot-bellied pigs are considered pets, like dogs or cats, and the new livestock rules don’t apply to them.

• All livestock, including chickens, have to be contained within a fence and cannot be any closer than 200 feet to an adjacent house.

• The fencing has to be set back at least 10 feet from adjacent property lines or side streets.

• Livestock cannot be kept in the front yard of a residence.

• In accordance with a state statute, as many as five beehives are permitted on a single parcel, provided the hives are placed at ground level or attached to an anchor or stand.

• Every person who owns or maintains a penned lot, shelter or other place where animals are kept “shall maintain the same in a sanitary and humane matter.” If that’s not the case, the conditions will be reported to an animal control officer and subsequently to the Rowan County Health Department.

Blount noted that another provision of the reworded regulations says “odors and noises created by the keeping of livestock shall not be objectionable to adjacent residences as determined by the town’s planner,” which is Blount himself.

As for the question of how stridently these new provisions will be enforced, Blount noted it’s almost always complaint-driven.

“Our code enforcement starts with a complaint,” he said.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

 

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