Dobson sets livestock restrictions

By Andy Winemiller -

DOBSON — Those who care to raise chickens in Dobson will have some guidelines to follow.

Last week, the Dobson Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to amend the town’s zoning ordinance. The amendments regarded small car lots and livestock.

Town Manager Josh Smith told his board that chickens and other livestock are allowed in residential neighborhoods under the town’s zoning ordinance. However, a permit is needed. Town officials lacked any written criteria to follow when issuing the permits.

Smith noted it remains legal to raise livestock in agricultural districts in town.

The guidelines passed on Thursday cap the number of hens a person may have on his or her property at five. Roosters are not permitted. The birds must be enclosed in the backyard of a home with at least 10 square feet for each animal.

The amendments set similar limitations for those who raise rabbits.

Smith noted larger animals are also permitted in areas zoned residential. However, those who care to keep goats, cattle, horses or other large livestock must reside on a minimum of 40,000 square feet, and each animal must have 20,000 square feet on which to live.

Another change to the town’s zoning ordinance was prompted by a request from a local man who wants to start a used car sales business across from Dobson Town Hall, and those changes were also approved unanimously.

Smith said car lots are permitted in “B-2” business districts, but not in “B-1” districts. When the businessman requested to have a property he intends to lease rezoned from B-1 to B-2, the planning board had another thought. Rather than rezone the property, the board thought it might be appropriate to amend the zoning ordinance to make small car lots a permitted use in B-1 districts, with restrictions.

The restrictions, which Smith noted have no effect on small car lots operated in B-2 districts, would require a car lot to have one and a half parking spaces per car displayed. The requirement would ensure there is appropriate parking for customers. The lots will also be required to operate an office on the premises.

A small car lot is defined as one displaying five to 10 vehicles. A permit would still be required, according to Smith.

Commissioner Robin Testerman asked Smith about enforcement of both new provisions.

Smith said any person found to be in violation of the town’s zoning ordinance is given an opportunity to remedy the situation prior to any citations resulting in fines or other penalties being issued.

In other business, Smith provided the board with an update on the project to overhaul the town’s water treatment plant. The timeline for the first phase of the project — the replacement of pumps — has been extended.

Smith said he hopes the town will be operating with its two new pumps by the end of June. Town officials had hoped to see the new pumps up and running much earlier in the year. However, the company replacing the pumps has been waiting on the manufacturing and delivery of needed parts.

“Hopefully, we can send that noisy thing back to Winston soon,” said Smith of a rental pump the town has been using to draw water from the Fisher River since the last of its pumps failed in late 2015.

Town Municipal Services Manager Misty Marion provided commissioners with a recreation update. The town has a concert scheduled for June 10, and a movie and family fun night on the docket for June 16. Both events will take place at Dobson Square Park.

By Andy Winemiller

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

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