Residents, County Staff To Discuss Livestock Rules

Residents concerned about Palm Beach County’s proposed livestock ordinance will get a chance to meet with county staff at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 15 at the Vista Center in West Palm Beach, located at 2300 N. Jog Road, in the first-floor large conference room.

The proposed rule changes apply to those keeping livestock in rural and exurban communities, including The Acreage.

Next week’s meeting is in advance of a Palm Beach County Commission meeting Aug. 23 where the ordinance is set for possible adoption.

County staff members believe the ordinance would provide protection to property owners in the rural and exurban tiers who would otherwise be subject to citations for keeping livestock under the current regulations.

The end goal, according to staff, is to preserve and protect the rights of county residents.

However, some residents are concerned that the ordinance does the opposite, including possibly infringing on the state’s Right to Farm Act.

Acreage resident and former Indian Trail Improvement District Supervisor Mike Erickson said he is concerned about the limitation of six sales of farm products per property per year.

Current home occupation regulations do not allow the public to come to a residence to purchase items, but the new regulations would allow six separate sales of multiple items per year.

“Six is just a number somebody picked out of the hat,” Erickson told the Town-Crier on Wednesday.

He said a more appropriate restriction might be to allow property owners unlimited or a greater number of sales than six, limited to products only from that piece of property.

“If you’ve got goats and sell the milk, you can do it all you want right there,” Erickson said. “You’ve really got only an acre and a quarter out here in the exurban tier that you’re dealing with, so the size and scale of the operation is going to be limited by the size of the lot.”

County staff, however, points out that under current regulations, properties in the rural and exurban tiers can have only one use, residential or bona fide agricultural. The new ordinance is narrowly tailored to protect the rights of residents who keep domestic livestock, as guaranteed in the comprehensive plan.

The new regulations do not affect horses, hobby bird breeders or bona fide agricultural uses, which are addressed under other ordinances and statutes. Since the proposed regulations do not address bona fide agriculture, the Right to Farm Act does not apply, according to county staff.

The new rules exclude planned unit developments, which were not designed to be rural in nature. The amendments would also address livestock fencing, as well as the status of existing structures and grace periods for non-compliant structures. It also deletes the maximum number of livestock that can be kept on a property as well as screening requirements.


Above: A backyard chicken coop.


  1. Ultimately, how can you cite livestock when they are “allowed” in our comp land use plan? Zoning cited incorrectly in the first place.

    —” It also deletes the maximum number of livestock that can be kept on a property as well as screening requirements.”—-

    How can it delete something thats not on the books? There are limits to quantity in the AR/USA tier possibly but if there is nothing on the books for livestock in the AR/ RSA tier then there is nothing to delete.

    —-“The end goal, according to staff, is to preserve and protect the rights of county residents.”—-

    If that was really true there wouldn’t be any “nuisance” language in there. Which county residents? Not those with livestock.

    Anything outside of the “livestock is allowed” language is burdensome, and limiting, and will be costly. Who has “permitted” a hog pen? lean to. cross fences. goat shed… with this language now you will have to. Every pole in the ground, no matter how small the structure.

    Zoning would rather you have portable, movable, blows away in a hurricane type of structure? How much MORE damage can be done with movable structures? Temporary also in the ULDC is defined 180 days (aprox). No one is mentioning this either. So you build a movable structure? and then what happens when we have a hurricane?

    This ordinance needs to be tossed or either start over with people that actually live this lifestyle.

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