Greene County Board of Supervisors Rejects Ordinance Revisions

By. Kara Reese Pennella Greene County Field Officer

Action Summary: OR#08-005 Zoning Ordinance Revision Request to Revise Equine Uses in the A-1 Agriculture Zoning Districts –Disapproved

Request to amend the Greene County Code to include Riverdale Subdivision under Section 14-61(f), Dogs Prohibited from Running at Large – Disapproved

Motion to Award Mowing Contract to Meriweather Mowing – Approved

Motion to Discontinue Publishing Meeting Agendas in Newspapers as a Means of Cutting Costs – Approved

The Greene County Board of Supervisors considered and disapproved proposed changes to Greene County’s Ordinances and County Code at their second March meeting. First, the Board considered a request to permit horses on two to five acres in the agriculture zoning district via special use permit. Second, the Board heard a request from citizens to include the Riverdale Subdivision under a County Code Section requiring dogs to be on leashes.

Equine Uses First, the Board heard from applicants Don and Jacquelyn Sutton who were seeking an amendment to Equine Uses in Agricultural Zoning Districts. After numerous discussions over the last few months the Planning Commission crafted as special use permit that would allow horses on 2-5 acres in an A-1 Zoning District. Along with this proposed language, staff used this opportunity to clarify definitions of stables and other horse related activities that require a special use permit in Greene County.

The Free Enterprise Forum spoke in support of the applicant’s request that horses be permitted on 2-5 acres in A-1 zoning districts a move that would bring Greene County’s policy in line with other Counties’ Ordinances. Free Enterprise Forum did not provide comments on the additional definitions included by staff in the ordinance revision. Numerous citizens addressed the Board with concerns about the additional definitions added by staff.

Citizens who provided comment included A. Wilkerson and Planning Commissioner D. Lamb (who previously voted in favor of the ordinance revisions). Residents believed that the new definitions provided more stringent requirements on horse owners who want to give lessons or board horses and other small equine operations. The Board briefly discussed the changes. There was a general consensus that the current ordinances are not broken and there is no reason to change them. The Board also noted that there may be some unintended consequences from the definitions added by staff. The Board voted unanimously to disapprove the ordinance revisions.

Revising Greene County’s Equine Use definitions was discussed a second time later in the meeting. Staff brought to the Board’s attention that under the current ordinance Stables require a special use permit. Staff is aware of a pending application to build an equestrian facility. Staff sought direction on how to proceed under the current ordinance and whether the Board wanted the Planning Commission to look at the definitions again. Staff provided a general description of the project and the Board reached a general consensus that this was a situation that they would want applicant to seek a special use permit regardless of what clarification might be made to the ordinance in the future. Again the Board echoed earlier sentiment that the County’s ordinances were not broken.The Board did agree to place a revision of the County’s definition of Equine Uses on the Planning Commissions Project list as a lower priority item.

Leash Law Residents of Riverdale Subdivision turned out in force on both sides of the issue to address whether their subdivision should be included under the leash law provisions of the Greene County Code. It quickly became evident that residents were sharply divided over the issue. Questions were also raised about how signatures should be counted on the petition. The Board sought clarification on how the signatures should be counted or if they could be verified. The County Attorney replied that in the past signatures had not been verified. However, the Board’s job remains the same regardless of how the signatures on the petition are counted. The Board must determine whether it is appropriate to include the Riverdale Subdivision under the ordinance.

After some discussion the Board noted that the community seemed to be fairly evenly split on the issue. The Board did not feel that it was appropriate to add the subdivision at this time. The Board voted unanimously not to include Riverdale Subdivision under the County Code Section dealing with leash laws.

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