Purdy City Council defends new livestock ordinance

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Landowner claims restrictions make land 'worthless'

The Purdy City Council had its first chance to defend its new livestock ordinance recently, as long-time resident Fred Terry, who did not attend earlier city council meetings on the subject, challenged the city's new limits on livestock use, banning the replacement of present animals once they die or are removed.

"I've got three acres," Terry said. "I've got $12,000 tied into it. This reduces its value to zero."

Terry challenged the ban of specific animals, such as rabbits and roosters, as well as limiting the number of dogs allowed per household, calling it micromanagement. He pointed to the Bill Hemphill farm, which runs between Business Highway 60 and Highway 37. He noted that land has been used as a pasture "for 100 years." Hemphill's son, Ike, has regularly brought in livestock to graze for the winter, and now will no longer be able to do so. Terry asserted the new ordinance makes the Hemphill property "worthless."

Mayor Bo Prock said much of the reason for the ordinance is activity presently going in the center of town, not on its edges, where Terry's property is located.

"People are doing this in back yards," Prock said. "That's or concern. We have 490 persons with home lots. Most of them don't want animals all over the place."

Terry said he felt the old city ordinances had served the city well and questioned why they were being changed. Clerk Debbie Redshaw noted that changes followed the council's efforts to revise the dog ordinance. Some of the existing livestock regulation, it was not noted, had been inadvertently repealed during revision of the nuisance ordinance. Council members since that time had sought to find alternatives, gradually adopting new requirements.

"I feel that the stone has not been rolled over for so long that it's been covered with moss and nothing's been done," Prock said. "We've talked about this stuff for months."

"I think you're penalizing six or seven of us in town [who have land that has been used for livestock]. It hits us pretty hard," Terry said.

"There are six or seven of you, and 400 others," said Alderman Scott Redshaw. "You can't please everybody."

"They don't care," Terry said.

"I care," Redshaw said. "You want to come in my back yard and smell my neighbor's yard? Those who spoke to me are happier with no animals in town than those who are against it. As a council, we have to try to make everybody happy. You can't always do that."

Terry said he was prepared to push back. Prock said the ordinance will likely undergo "tweaks and change" over time. Presently, he was standing by the change.

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