New Law in Western Wisconsin - Opinions?? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 36 Old 09-26-2011, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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New Law in Western Wisconsin - Opinions??

There is a new law that was just passed in my neck of the woods. It is based on a new zoning format for small rural farms and neighborhoods. It does not change any "general agriculture" zoned farms, but a lot of areas around here have been switched to the new zoning. It seems a little complex, but boils down to placing new limits of the number of animals on these hobby farms. Under the new law animals are given farm units with 1 unit being 1000 pounds. A horse is by definition a minimum of 1 farm unit (not sure about minis). You can now have 1 farm unit per 3 acres of pasture. So a 10 acre field can now have 3 horses maximum (unless you also have a donkey, cow, pig etc... which takes up farm units). They claim it is to limit soil erosion and waste build up.

I personally like the idea. It would limit hoarders and placing too many horses on too small a lot, however the regulations are nonenforcable and too broad. As far as I can tell it is based on TOTAL acres, not those taken up by buildings or left wooded or used for crops. So a person could have a 30 acre property but only fence in 5 acres and still be able to have 10 horses on it.

So what are all of your opinions on this legislation? Good, bad, ugly? Better ideas??
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post #2 of 36 Old 09-26-2011, 01:56 PM
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What about the people who already have more animals than they'd legally be allowed once this goes into effect? Are they grandfathered in, or do they have to find homes for/euth the extras?

Frankly, unless you're primarily feeding animals ONLY by pasture, 10 acres for 3 horses is overkill.

Where I used to live in MD, the local laws stated you needed 3 acres for the first animal, and 1/2 acre for each animal thereafter. I think that's a more reasonable idea than the 3 acres per animal.

In my part of VA where I live now I can have more than 3 horses on 5 acres, but I won't do it because I don't want the pastures overgrazed.

You can have more than 3 horses on less than 10 acres with the right pasture maintenance.

You want the truth? You can't HANDLE the truth!

Last edited by Speed Racer; 09-26-2011 at 02:04 PM.
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post #3 of 36 Old 09-26-2011, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by livestoride View Post
There is a new law that was just passed in my neck of the woods. It is based on a new zoning format for small rural farms and neighborhoods. It does not change any "general agriculture" zoned farms, but a lot of areas around here have been switched to the new zoning. It seems a little complex, but boils down to placing new limits of the number of animals on these hobby farms. Under the new law animals are given farm units with 1 unit being 1000 pounds. A horse is by definition a minimum of 1 farm unit (not sure about minis). You can now have 1 farm unit per 3 acres of pasture. So a 10 acre field can now have 3 horses maximum (unless you also have a donkey, cow, pig etc... which takes up farm units). They claim it is to limit soil erosion and waste build up.

I personally like the idea. It would limit hoarders and placing too many horses on too small a lot, however the regulations are nonenforcable and too broad. As far as I can tell it is based on TOTAL acres, not those taken up by buildings or left wooded or used for crops. So a person could have a 30 acre property but only fence in 5 acres and still be able to have 10 horses on it.

So what are all of your opinions on this legislation? Good, bad, ugly? Better ideas??
Do you have a link to the information? I could not find anything newer than 2009.
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post #4 of 36 Old 09-26-2011, 02:12 PM
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Crazy. I would be allowed 0 horses with this law. Seems a little micromanaging to me. I think my four horses are fine On my two acres. It's dry-lot however. I don't know much about regulation for animal numbers on pasture.
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post #5 of 36 Old 09-26-2011, 04:52 PM
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Stupid law. What happens to dairy/beef farmers or show barns where the horses don't go out or boarding barns?
Soil erosion? That's a lame excuse, where would it erode to, unless your land was on the side of a steep hill?
You should fight this law. Your part of the State doesn't need this rule. It's for subdivision type barns. Do we need the Gov. To tell us to pick up manure, which degrades anyway?
All this does is turn neighbor against neighbor.
Stupid law.
Oh, and nothing will stop a hoarder.
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post #6 of 36 Old 09-26-2011, 05:26 PM Thread Starter
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Speed Racer - Yes, animals already present get grandfathered in. I don't have any idea how they plan on enforcing this unless they looked at Coggins paperwork and where the horse was listed as residing. Otherwise you could easily just say the horse was present previously.

MLS - Here is the news article about it: Horse owners say nay to animal limits

Here is the link to the PDF file with the regulations in it. It is regarding all regulations and is throughout the document, but page 47 and Appendix A have it spelled out a little better.
www.co.la-crosse.wi.us/zoning/Zoning/docs/Chapter17Revisions.pdf.

Natisha - I don't know about those that have no outdoor facilities, but I would suspect that this would not allow them to have animals if the land is less than those required regardless of outdoor privileges to the animals. Feedlots would be under the "general agriculture" zoning which do not follow this new regulation. On a side note - I see you are in Palmyra - I am heading there next weekend for the DRAW ride as my first endurance event :)
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post #7 of 36 Old 09-26-2011, 05:27 PM
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If they did that here, I'd have to shoot two horses. I have no pasture, and no one within 10 miles of me does, either.
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post #8 of 36 Old 09-26-2011, 05:42 PM
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In Southern Arizona it would have to be 1 horse per 100 acres!
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post #9 of 36 Old 09-26-2011, 05:51 PM
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I'll add that this sort of nonsense allows people who know nothing total control over those who do. I once spent 3 hours at zoning, arguing that a horse corral was NOT an accessory structure, limited to 1500 sq ft. Finally a supervisor was walking past, and he told the other guy that structures had roofs and it didn't apply to horse corrals.

Meanwhile, I cannot build a riding arena closer than 60 feet to the road. Why? Because accessory structure are not allowed within 60 feet. But a riding arena isn't even a corral - but I was told that both corrals and arenas "are considered" to be structures for zoning distances, even tho they do NOT meet the definition published in the code. It is "an internal memo" that spells it out...and if I don't like it, I have to hire a lawyer and sue the county.

At the same time I was there, a rancher was in trying to get permission to build a 400' long barbed wire fence to separate two different kinds of cattle. The county agent said he would need a survey done, along with an engineering plan. The following is a quote:

"I need to be able to conceptualize in my mind what this barbed wire fence will be like."

He wanted to see a plan with the number of T-posts, type of barbed wire, distances between posts, changes in elevations, how far apart the posts would be, etc.

I looked at the rancher, and he looked at me. He said, "OK, I'll get on it..." and walked out. Of course, he went and built the fence & the county be ****ed!

But what sort of idiot calls a riding arena - a flat spot with pipe fencing mostly around it, like a corral except the fencing doesn't go all the way around - an accessory structure, which is defined in the code as having a roof? A faceless bureaucrat can send a memo around, that we peons are not allowed access to, and redefine terms in the code, and our resource is to hire a lawyer to sue them? They have, in essence, total power since no normal person can afford the lawyer fees over a corral or riding area.

An arena is a corral, even if the fencing is only part way. A corral is an accessory structure for purposes of offsets, but it doesn't have a roof and they admit it isn't considered a structure for any other rule. Meanwhile, my property value has fallen 50%, but my property taxes only 10%, since they raised the rates to offset "their losses". Anyone want to bet that when values go up, they won't cut the rates?
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post #10 of 36 Old 09-26-2011, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinshorses View Post
In Southern Arizona it would have to be 1 horse per 100 acres!
In all honesty, it would have to be higher than that. Cattle are less picky about food than horses, and a guy working some near me told me they run 1 head/200 acres, and only part of the year. At 5000+ feet, there start to be grasslands. At 3600', where I am, there is mesquite & prickly pear & cholla...

This picture is from the web, but it looks like an area about 3 miles from me...maybe greener:



Still, a friend of mine runs sheep & cattle in the San Rafael swell area in Utah...I ought to ask him how many acres per steer:

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