Council takes no action on allowing livestock in city limits
by Coy Slavik, Advance-Guard Editor
May 10, 2013 | 1537 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
GOLIAD – The Goliad City Council took no action on granting a variance request from prospective owners of property at 736 N. Jefferson as the interpretation of city ordinances restricting livestock inside the city limits was unclear at Tuesday night's meeting.

Jack and Connie Wood filed a permit seeking the city to grant a variance allowing them to raise livestock on 18 acres adjacent to the residence at 736 N. Jefferson. The Woods have plans of constructing a roping arena and raising horses and steers on the land.

Councilman Buddy Zavesky cited a city ordinance that stated no livestock would be allowed inside the city limits, but City Attorney Terry Baiamonte said she felt the Woods' permit should be approved under the current ordinance.

"According to you, they would be able under our terms right now to fill out a permit and it be granted?" Goliad Mayor Jay Harvey asked Baiamonte.

"Correct," Baiamonte said. "As long as they can establish the terms that are required."

"We have to follow our rules," Harvey said. "We can't implement rules that we do not have."

Zavesky insisted council passed an ordinance restricting any livestock being allowed in the city, but Baiamonte questioned whether the council's decision had ever codified.

"Somebody made a mistake by putting it in a year or two ago," Zavesky said.

Zavesky motioned to table the item. Rubio seconded the motion. The council voted 4-1 in favor of tabling the item.

During citizens comment, Goliad homebuilder Ernest Alaniz urged the council to not approve the variance while three realtors spoke in favor of allowing the Woods to put livestock on the property.

"I wouldn't risk building a house, nor would a person be tempted to buy a house if it was known that after the fact a variance could be granted to raise livestock next door," Alaniz said.

Richard Moore, former owner of the house at 736 N. Jefferson, urged the council to allow the variance.

"We acquired the house and eight acres in 2003," Moore said. "Then we added 10 acres, which is immediately west of there in 2006. When I bought the land, there was cattle on that eight acres. I had no idea that there were any issues with doing that. But I did notice at the time after I bought it that the city has an ordinance that allows the council tom provide a permit for the keeping of livestock. The ordinance is very well written and it provides for a distance that livestock can be kept away from residences.

"It's 18 acres of land and I think a really good rationale for maintaining the livestock back there. … I don't think it would be a bad idea to continue to let livestock be back there. It's a very large tract."

Victoria realtors Tracey Cliburn of RE/MAX Land & Homes and LuAnn O'Connor of the Ron Brown Co. spoke for the prospective landowners, Jack and Connie Wood.

"Goliad has done a great job of branding itself as the birthplace of Texas ranching," Cliburn said. "It's on the city's letterhead. If you look a little closer, there's a roping cowboy (on the logo) and that's what Mr. and Mrs. Wood are asking to do on private property. Granting this permit also assures with reasonable expectation that the 18 acres, which by the way is unrestricted, is going to be used to put a few horses and few steers on which is much more favorable than, perhaps, an RV park with transient workers coming and going."

"This whole sale is based on if they can get this permit," O'Connor said. "If you deny it, they will not be purchasing the property. I think it would hurt the selling of the property in the future for any sellers. You'd be doing them a disservice when it has always had animals on it."

Alaniz said in every city he has lived, there have been ordinances in place to prevent livestock from being raised within the city limits.

"If people wanted to have livestock, they would move to the ranch head out of town," Alaniz said. "I don't know why we need to see them inside the city limits of Goliad. Yes, Goliad is the birthplace of ranching, but not the city of Goliad. There's a big county out there. I see people from Victoria here trying to influence people on our council. I think it's ironic that if they would go to the Victoria city council and ask for a variance, they would not get it. It would not even be considered. So I don't see why we should allow one here."

Cliburn objected to Alaniz's statement.

"We're not a bunch of people coming here from Victoria asking for y'all to do something in your city that we're not already doing in Victoria," Cliburn said. "I live in Victoria. Miss O'Connor lives in Victoria. I have chickens in my neighborhood. There are horses in my neighborhood."

The city sent letters to 12 property owners of adjoining properties seeking their opinions on the pending sale.

"I talked to the gentleman (Michael Berger) at the Holy Cross Cemetery and he sure didn't want the smell of the animals there when they had a funeral," Councilman Buddy Zavesky said. "Miss (Alpha) Hunt said she did live in the country and she moved to town so she wouldn't be in the country."

The next scheduled city council meeting is Tuesday, May 21.

In other business items:

• Mary Jane Martin was approved by the Goliad City Council to serve as election judge for the May 11 election and Evelyn Robinson, Lorinda Rangel and Elia Garcia were approved to serve as clerks.

• Council unanimously renewed the juvenile curfew of restricting children under 17 being out after 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. on Monday through Thursday and midnight until 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
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