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Pet pot-belly pig gets thumbs up from Richmond planning commission

September 7th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Rouchelle Brockman

RICHMOND — Pet pig permits, water and sewer models and private property concerns were discussed at the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission meeting Tuesday.

Cameron Sparrow, a Richmond resident, asked the commission for permission to keep his 80-pound pet pot-belly pig after he learned of an ordinance that restricts pig ownership within city limits.

Planning and Zoning Commissioner Rod Going said the law was created to prevent pig production farms or other large populations of the animal from being established in Richmond; he cited sanitation as the original concern. He said the law was not meant to be applied to individual pigs kept as pets.

Monica Merrill, a planning and zoning commission member and Sparrow’s neighbor, said Sparrow maintains the animal in such a way that there are no smell or noise problems and that his children are very attached to the pet. She said she was “blown away” he needed to ask the commission if he could keep his pet.

“If you don’t have animals, you can’t teach children love and responsibility,” Merrill said, “it’s more of a puppy than a pig.”

There have been no complaints to the city about the animal, which is kept in a fenced-in portion of Sparrow’s 2-acre lot. The commission recommended that Sparrow apply for a one-year conditional use permit, which would need to be ratified by the City Council later this month.

The commission also listened to a brief explanation of water and sewer models at their Tuesday meeting. The state passed a law in 2009 that would require future buildings on subdivided property to undergo a computer-modeled test that would measure a building’s impact on municipal water systems. Richmond city is planning to create a law that would enforce a similar test on all new buildings in subdivided properties. This test would instead measure a building’s impact on the sewer said Marlowe Adkins, Richmond city manager.

“Our main concern is about going over peak flow,” Going said. “What would happen on Super Bowl Sunday when everyone flushes their toilets during halftime?”

Adkins said the sewer test law is still in the planning stage and that he does not know when it will go into effect.

The commission also reopened a tabled request by a citizen to build on property near U.S. Highway 91. Crystal Burningham, a Logan resident, owns a 3-acre lot in Richmond and has plans to acquire an adjoining acre from a relative. Burningham said she came to the planning and zoning commission primarily to find out what she can do with the property. The property currently has one building on the new acre. She said she and her husband are not planning to build a second building on the property for another five years, but wanted to know if they could put in the utilities now and get a building permit.

Adkins said putting in the utilities now “would not be equitable to the rest of the city because impact fees change so much over time.” He also said that building permits have to be used within 12 months. He said Burningham should not get a permit now unless she plans on doing some kind of construction within a year.

The commission also expressed concern about how emergency vehicles would access the property. Burningham said she spoke with the fire department and was told she must provide an all-weather turn-around surface and multiple entrances to the property.

Adkins said the commission did not make any sort of ruling for or against Burningham’s request but that they were simply answering a series of questions she had.


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