|Written by Staff Reporter|
|Tuesday, 12 June 2007 13:28|
In a long and unusually impassioned Camp Verde Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, Camp Verde’s swine and its Town Code got a first chance for some real reconciliation.
Starting with a draft that Chairman Rob Witt had characterized as draconian with regard to 4-H and Future Farmers of America agriculture projects, the commission moved toward a more accommodating stance.
The commission is leaning toward requiring a “use permit” for a breeding program, seemingly in response to the sometimes large number of 4-H pigs on Greg and Karen Terry’s Buffalo Trail property.
“A breeding project is an ongoing type of project, and that it’s truly in the nature of a commercial operation,” Commissioner Joe Butner said. “And that’s exactly the kind of thing that requires a use permit — in any kind of a context, whether it be livestock or if they were working on cars.”
A use permit would require residents to individually apply to the commission for permission to use their property in the manner requested and to pay a fee.
Butner proposed that each child involved in 4-H or FFA be permitted to have one breeding project on an annual basis.
Greg Terry’s three sons as well as other Camp Verde kids had filled a large table to overflowing with recently won ribbons and trophies for their prize swine.
Jace Terry, 10, presented a 43-signature petition he had taken around his neighborhood to convince the commission that Buffalo Trail didn’t hate his hogs.
But among Terrys’ next-door neighbors, Eric Schweizer and Leonard Krautbauer both told the commission that the Terrys’ pigs — which swelled to more than three dozen on two slightly-more-than-an-acre properties at the height of the breeding season — were more than a nuisance.
Schweizer bemoaned what he said was an overpowering miasma coming from the Terry’s pigs, and Krautbauer said the proximity and number of pigs created a potential health problem.
The commission heard that Code Enforcement Officer Dallas Taylor had visited the Terry’s property pursuant to nuisance complaints from the neighborhood but had not smelled or seen anything amiss.
Greg Terry repeatedly told the commission that he hoped they would not single out swine among the plethora of livestock in town and that there was no expert testimony that showed any particular health or safety issues peculiar to pigs.
Camp Verde High School’s director of career and technical education, Bob Weir, raised a number of concerns.
“Both of my children were in 4-H this year, and they both raised a pig,” Weir said. “I moved to Camp Verde for several reasons: one is I love the small community — it’s gonna grow gradually, but we’re not Phoenix. If you look at the town emblem and everything else, we’re promoting rural, country life. When you take away one animal, who’s to say the horses won’t be gone? Now the cattle are gone, now the chickens, now the dogs.
“We’re increasin’ our FFA to two teachers because the number of interested students have grown enormously in the last two years. We’re runnin’ right now at 110 students in FFA, and most of those — about 80 — showed an animal of some sort.”
Weir said his new hires would be taken aback to find out that swine were being particularly censured.
Kristi Mulcaire, of 4-H, presented a detailed explanation to the commission of the economics and advantages for children in choosing swine as a project.
In the end, the commission decided to revisit the contentious issue once more before recommending changes to the Town Code for the Town Council, and it seemed to be moving with less deliberate speed against Camp Verde’s swine.
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