Steamboat City Council passes 1st reading of goat ordinance |

Steamboat City Council passes 1st reading of goat ordinance

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected from its original version. The current version of the ordinance does not include provisions for goats in condominium complexes and mobile home parks, nor does it require the use of biological fly control measures.

City Council President Cari Hermacinski couldn't quite control her giggling, and Councilman Walter Magill wouldn't be goaded into voting "yes," but the council passed the first reading a new goat ordinance Tuesday night that would allow more city residents to keep domestic goats in their backyards.

Council is on summer break and won't get back together to consider final approval of the ordinance until its next meeting on Sept. 6.

It was the language of the ordinance, not the content, that tickled Hermacinski's funny bone this week. She laughed audibly as she read the proposed ordinance into the record.

"I'm sorry, every time I read the words 'farm animals,' I get the giggles," Hermacinski said. "I was a huge supporter of the chicken ordinance. I like that we're supporting goats, too."

The city already allows goats on building lots of 1 acre or more in the residential estate zone district. The new ordinance would expand Steamboat's urban goat range to allow residents to have two to three domestic goats (excluding nursing kids up to 16 weeks old) in fenced enclosures with sufficient area to afford 200 square feet per animal anywhere single-family homes or duplexes are allowed.

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The ordinance also establishes a one-time fee of $50 for backyard goat herders.

The value of urban goats as a means to control noxious weeds caught the attention of city Code Enforcement Officer Barb Wheeler more than two years ago and she has been researching the topic ever since.

City Planner Seth Lorson previously told the Steamboat Today that although the city is aware of only a few goats currently being kept in the city limits, the city is mindful of the growing interest in a sustainable lifestyle.

For the record, the language in the ordinance that inspired Hermacinski's mirth read: "An ordinance amending Chapter 26 of the Steamboat Springs Revised Municipal Code by adding a definition and use criteria for animals, goats; revising the definition of farm animal; amending the use table to permit animals, goats as a use with criteria and prohibit this use in certain zone districts …"

Magill said he didn't feel confident that most Steamboat residents were fully aware of the contents of the goat ordinance and said he would prefer to see it go forward as a test program.

Councilman Kenny Reisman asked Lorson if the goat enclosures could be built of barbed wire. Lorson replied that although that was not the intent of the ordinance it did not specifically preclude barbed wire. He offered to add prohibitive language before second reading.

Tuesday's voted passed, 6-1.

Lorson recommended a list of requirements of goat owners intended to mitigate any objections neighbors might have.

They include:

■ Enclosures and shelters shall be kept in a neat and sanitary condition at all times and must be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent the attraction of pests and offensive odors.

■ Pest control shall be required at all times.

■ Feed shall be stored in a bear-proof container if located outdoors.

■ Goats shall not be used for commercial purposes.

■ No slaughtering of animals shall be allowed on the property.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email

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