Citizens support continuing to allow livestock in blocks bordering Main Street in Centerfield
By Kristi Shields
CENTERFIELD—A large majority of the residents who filled the city council chambers on Thursday voted in favor of keeping livestock on the blocks bordering Main Street.
The city council asked over 20 residents whether they would favor or oppose a city ordinance that would allow livestock to be kept in the residential zone of 100 West to 100 East.
Sixteen residents voted in favor of keeping livestock and three opposed it. The council will discuss this further before making a decision.
The existing ordinance doesn’t specify where livestock is permitted, said Mayor Tom Sorenson. There was quite a bit of discussion on the topic 16 years ago, but a motion was never made to include it in the ordinance.
Mayor Sorensen mentions two main reasons for concern: Main Street is where the city wants to attract businesses, which brings in tax dollars; and allowing larger animals to roam can become a liability issue for the town and the residents.
Councilman David Beck asked the public, “We want to hear from you. We want to know what you want.”
Bart Hammon responded, “I personally don’t [want to live around farm animals]. If I wanted to live in that environment, I would be around the farms; that’s why I live in town. I don’t necessarily think that the town is a place for large animals.”
Hammon said livestock owners need to take in consideration the privacy of their neighbors. He said he doesn’t want to deal with animals roaming the city block.
Kevin Hansen said the town also needs to consider the consequences of allowing animals on Main Street. “On Main Street, what’s our chances of having any future growth, businesses coming in, setting up next to a bunch of horses?” Hansen said. “Where would we generate tax revenue?”
Many other residents disagreed.
Rachel Jensen said, “How many businesses do we actually have on Main Street that are actually functionally operating?” She said she has seen very few businesses set up on Main Street in the last several years.
Perry Sorensen said, “The way I see it, we’re getting fewer and fewer animals, so I don’t see this being a big problem in our town.” It’s only fair to allow animals in city blocks because animals can become a nuisance — depending on how they’re taken care of — no matter where they’re being held, he said. The important aspect to take into consideration is how the city is going to maintain the animals if it allows them to be in that city block.
MerriLynn Sorensen said prohibiting animals on the city block would actually lower the property values because animals is what makes the property more attractive.
Trudy Davis said most everyone has acre lots in Centerfield, which is meant to be filled with animals. “Centerfield is a farm town,” she said. “That’s why we moved here.”
Heather Hansen said she and her family searched high and low for a perfect town to own horses in. They decided on Centerfield because they knew their horses would be accepted.