Wednesday, August 19, 2009

City of Vancouver - Urban Livestock Advisory Group - The First Meeting

The Vancouver Urban Livestock Advisory Group had it's first meeting yesterday afternoon and as promised I want to give a quick debrief to you folks.

First off I want to say that it seems like we have a very insightful and concerned group working on this project. I am very impressed with not only my fellow advisory group members from the community and I am equally impressed with the folks from the City Planning Department as well as the Code Compliance Department. The City has gathered data from numerous communities around the country that are dealing with urban livestock and will be using that data as a reference for our process. Considering that there are communities that have already come up with some truly innovative and interesting ways of approaching the subject, I'm looking forward to reviewing that data. Overall I am excited and I think we're going to do some good things for our community.

Our first objective is to identify portions of the current code that may need clarification and/or changes made. We talked a little about that during the meeting and it seems like we're onboard with the idea that we want to keep this process as simple as possible. If there are codes that exist that cover or could cover issues that arise from keeping urban livestock then we're going to try to utilize them rather than try to reinvent the wheel. For example, the most common complaints being dealt with by Code Compliance officials are noise and odor. These are subjects that are already addressed by current nuisance codes and could easily be amended to address the same subjects with regards to urban livestock.

We are also being asked to go out to the community and find out if you have experienced any issues with keeping urban livestock that you had a negative experience with regarding code enforcement or code issues.

A specific topic they'd like input on is dealing with lots that are currently being used for urban livestock, but are bordered by residential or commercial structures. What problems exist or could exist that may need to be addressed?

If you have any input, questions, or concerns about what we're doing during this process and/or about the topics I mentioned above, please contact me and let me know so I can bring them to the table at future meetings.

On a side note, we digressed a bit and talked about the subject of urban agriculture with regards to crop cultivation. It was an interesting and informative discussion and I think we'll see the City addressing some shortcomings in the current code in the near future that will expand the potential of urban farming for personal or commercial purposes. That sounds mighty fine to me.

Our next meeting will be Tuesday, September 1st. In the meantime, here is a link for you to some good stuff for you read and think about. This link will take you to the Urban Livestock Advisory web page that will give you information about what we're doing and links to portions of the current code that we're working on :

Urban Livestock - Farm Animals In The City

1 comment:

  1. A few thoughts on urban livestock: Before permission is granted to an individual by the city to keep livestock, it may be a good preventative measure to avoid cruelty to animals(merely out of ignorance) to have the would be urban farmer answer basic questions that cover the animals involved. What are the environmental requirements-such as pens and enclosures? What are food requirements for said animals?
    Quite frankly I just don't want to see,smell or hear neglected animals. Happy animals,ok.
    Is the humane society prepared to deal with the possibility of having to intervene in cases of cruelty or neglect?
    Perhaps city sponsored workshops that certify city dwellers to have farm animals, to be sure they know the care and feeding requirements for success and a permit is then issued.
    It seems to be human nature to want something before enough thought goes into the ramifications of a desire.
    Heidie McCall-Vancouver WA.