On Tuesday evening, the LaGrange City Council approved an ordinance that will allow for prescribed grazing within the city.
The new ordinance will allow for goats and sheep to be used for lawn maintenance under limited parameters.
A request for the change was made by resident Danny Simms at the council work session on Apr. 12. Simms asked the council approve the ordinance in order to allow him to create a lawn maintenance business where he would bring in goats and sheep to maintain residents’ lawns by grazing.
Simms noted that goats will eat just about anything,which is good for addressing overgrown vegetation, particularly problematic kudzu.
Previously, the UDO only allowed for livestock as an accessory, but only on parcels three or more acres.
Under the new ordinance, specific breeds of goats and sheep will be permitted within enclosed areas for no more than five consecutive days and no more than four times per year. A minimum of 30 days between grazing is also required.
Only one grazing animal will be permitted per 500 square feet of total grazing area.
The ordinance was approved 4-1, with only Councilman Tom Gore in opposition, saying he expects complaints from residents about the issue.
“I’m not in favor of this based on the fact that I expect there are going to be a lot of noise complaints,” said Gore. “I think [the ordinance] will probably be short lived in its existence, so I’m going to not support this.”
Councilman Mark Mitchell noted that the council considered the possibility of noise complaints, but reminded that they can reevaluate the issue if it becomes a problem.
“We feel like we’re giving this business person a chance to run and operate his business,” said Mitchell. “If it causes problems then we will have to look at it again.”
In other business, the council approved an amendment to the city’s parks code that will fully prohibit bounce houses and codify allowing police and city employees to direct traffic within the parks.
Under the previous code, bounce houses were only allowed with permission from the city manager, but City Manager Meg Kelsey has never approved their use.
Kelsey advised that she considers bounce houses as a liability to the city and does not ever plan to issue a permit for one as long as she is city manager. Kelsey requested that the part of the ordinance that says she can approve bounce houses be removed because she does not ever intend to do so.