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Oh, Sheep: Aldermen vote for sheep, horses in Estate Residential Districts

The Oxford Board of Aldermen is continuing discussion regarding the place of farm animals within suburban and estate residential districts.

Responding to concerns she heard from members of the board of aldermen and citizens, city planner Judy Daniel presented proposed amendments to the city’s land development code.

“I have heard that some of you may be concerned that we are proposing to allow sheep in the estate residential district with one acre pastures,” Daniel said. “If you want that removed, we can do that.”

Under section 3.11.2.5., the code reads that agricultural uses in residential districts are limited to crops or animals raised for the “use and/or enjoyment” by occupants of the premises. Previous discussion of the proposed amendments included declaring hens the only appropriate poultry within city limits, banning roosters across all residential districts.

Apparently seeing a moment for humor, Alderman John Morgan spoke up.

“It’s baaaaad,” Morgan said, imitating the animal.

Although no alderman spoke out directly against the presence of sheep in town, the board chose to amend the proposed language and limit them to only ER districts instead of in suburban residential and ER districts.

If a homeowner wishes to have sheep or horses on their property that does not lie in an ER district, the land must be designated as a special use. Sheep or horses within an ER district must have a minimum one acre of pasture per animal.

During discussion, Daniel offered her own explanation for allowing sheep within city limits.

“They’re smaller than horses, they’re used in other estate districts,” she said. “But if you don’t think Oxford is ready for it, then certainly we can remove it.”

After brief discussion, the aldermen chose to adopt the proposed amendments in a unanimous vote.