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Hey, we're looking to move to Maine, and are trying to figure out the laws regarding how many horses you can have per acre and laws regarding building barns.
Does anyone know where to look? I've tried googling all the obvious key words but can't seem to find anything?
 

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Look up the county you are moving in to, and then look up their zoning codes. In Pima County, for example, the zoning category your property falls in makes a huge difference in the amount of land needed, where you can place buildings, etc.

If you are in city limits, then the city would also have zoning laws. And in some cases, there can be deed restrictions on property that can ban horses entirely, for example.
 

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Not only look up the county, but look up the township where the property is, to be sure there isn't some of sort Variance that might not be favorable to your situation.
 

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It will come down to calling each town hall in the towns you are interested in to see what their requirements are. Make sure you get a copy of the zoning that states how many acres per horse. Some towns have the horses fall under livestock.
 

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As an example, if you go to this link and click on title 18 (Zoning),

Municode

it will list the various types of zoning in Pima County AZ. If you then went one by one, you could see what zoning categories allow horses, how many horses, where the fencing and corrals and shelters must be, etc - but those rules change with each category of zoning. That is just the county. Tucson would have additional rules, and some places zoned for horses by the government have additional deed restrictions that make owning a horse there illegal.

You really have to look at each individual property. Most realtors will have a listing of 'horse properties', and those listing will filter out the incorrect zones or most deed restrictions. But a place can be horse property but not have a suitable place for a horse to live, and the realtor records are not 100% accurate.
 

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Look up the county you are moving in to . . .
I think people outside New England don't realize how vestigial our counties are - they have very, very few functions (if any - I think none in Conn.), and land use is not one of them. (A court system is the main one, and I think some welfare stuff is done at that level in some states - in NH there are county nursing homes.)

Most things are controlled by the state or the town. Land use, as well as all property tax assessment etc, would normally be with the town.

Apparently, in Maine, if the area's unincorporated, the state handles land use planning:
About County Government - Maine County Commissioners Association

I've never lived in Maine, but grew up in NH & owned houses in Conn. and now Mass. I don't think I've ever dealt directly with a county except when I formalized guardianship of a nephew in probate court and recorded the closing of a home equity line of credit at the registry of deeds, both court functions, the only thing counties do here in Mass at all.
 

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I live in CT and we have very strict zoning laws that differ from one town to another - Things like how many horses you can have per acre, where your boundary fence can be, how far from your boundary you can build a barn, where you can site a muck heap and also things like water frontage rules
I don't know much about Maine but here to find the info you need you would search 'name of town' zoning laws or rules
The easiest thing to do is to call the Town Council offices for wherever it is you are thinking of moving too
 
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