Council says pigs persona non grata

Apr 29 2012 - 10:30pm

NORTH OGDEN -- There are still no pigs allowed in North Ogden.

The city council backed away from a proposed zoning ordinance change that would allow for children to keep pigs in agricultural zones for up to six months for educational purposes. The decision was made after some residents spoke out against the measure and made accusations that the family for whom the ordinance was being changed was already violating the ordinance.

The council was ready to vote on the ordinance, pending those keeping the pigs follow the 4-H standards for keeping the pigs, when City Recorder Annette Spendlove suggested they wait until all council members had the chance to read the standards. Some council members had read the standards online, but some hadn't.

Ten-year-old Candice Marsh approached the council in March asking if she could keep a pig to show and auction at the Weber County Fair in August. The council agreed to have the planning commission take a look at the ordinance, which currently does allow for some livestock in agricultural zones of one acre or more, but which does not include pigs.

The council told Candice she could go ahead and start raising her pig in March so she could show it at the fair, and she wouldn't be cited. Because her sister also wanted to show a pig, the council allowed for two pigs at the residence.

The planning commission suggested the council allow for the pigs but only for six months and only for educational purposes, mainly 4-H. The commission also said no more than two pigs would be allowed per 1-acre parcel.

At Tuesday night's council meeting, neighbors of the Marsh family said up to five pigs were on the property and that the family had pigs last year -- a violation of the zoning ordinance.

Resident Rodney Rhoades said he and his neighbors couldn't even be outside last summer with the pigs in the neighborhood.

The smell "is gross," he said. "I'm totally for the education of young kids, but where will it end?"

He suggested the kids keep the pigs in a place that is already zoned for swine, perhaps in another city out west.

Several young 4-H members were at the meeting and said they would try hard to keep their pig pens clean and free of odors.

Candice's father, Dave Marsh, agreed that the pig pens smelled bad last year but said he has since changed the watering system and the way they care for the pigs, and he assured residents that won't be a problem this year. He also said last year, when they had the pigs, they had no idea it was against the zoning until a code enforcement officer approached him and let him know.

Councilwoman Cheryl Stoker said she can relate to the neighbors who don't like the pigs, because she has dealt with neighbors with chickens.

"It's not nice or fun to look in your backyard and see pigs," she said.

Councilman Kent Bailey agreed. He would rather leave the ordinance as it is and not allow pigs, period.

Councilmen Wade Bigler and Justin Fawson suggested that the ordinance needed to be a little tighter and give specific times of the year that pigs can be kept. They added that it should stipulate that the youths keeping the pigs have to follow the 4-H standard exactly, and if they don't the pigs would have to be taken away permanently.

Mayor Richard Harris told the Marsh family they could keep their pigs until a vote is taken at the next council meeting, but there could only be two pigs per 1-acre parcel. The family has up to five 1-acre parcels.

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