LaGrange City Council chews on possible grazing ordinance

Published 7:00 am Friday, April 29, 2022

An ongoing discussion concerning adjusting a lawn maintenance-related ordinance may soon see the light, but the concept has some council members feeling sheepish.

At the LaGrange City Council’s April 12 work session, an area resident, Danny Simms, proposed starting his own yard maintenance business and needed the council’s guidance. The workers of this business? Several goats and sheep. Sims explained the animals would perform lawn care maintenance through monitored, organic grazing on a client’s yard, potentially addressing vegetation issues within the city.

“It could be the right way to control [vegetation overgrowth] without herbicides and heavy equipment,” Sims said.

Currently, the city of LaGrange’s unified development ordinance does not prohibit grazing-style yard maintenance, but it does outline necessary requirements. The UDO only outlines livestock raising as an accessory and only on a parcel size of three acres.

The ordinance further explained that the UDO prohibits livestock from running at-large. Sims proposal includes having grazing animals encased in a portable electric fence on the client’s property and would only allow the animals on the property for a few hours to a few days.

On Tuesday, LaGrange City Planner Mark Kostial compared LaGrange’s ordinance to that of surrounding municipalities. The city of Athens, for example, allows grazing for several consecutive days and with more frequency, Kostial said. However, a business permit is required.

He said to his knowledge, animal grazing lawn maintenance businesses like the one Sims is proposing are not allowed throughout Troup County.

Councilmembers were mixed on the proposal, however agreed that they would like to see an outline of a possible ordinance allowing Sims’ business proposal. The ordinance will be reviewed at a future work session.

“I could see us having a lot of complaints,” said councilmember Jim Arrington, who additionally owns a local construction company, Arrington Builders. He said he’s faced vegetation issues in his own line of work and noted there are possible dangers on top of possible noise complaints.

LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton advised the ordinance could be adjusted based on complaints.