New owner means no horses, Roachdale Town Council says
ROACHDALE --Explosions, firearms and farm animals dominated the discussion at the Roachdale town council meeting on Tuesday. None were present.
Members of the community came to the meeting hoping to have ordinances changed or added, but in both cases these requests were turned down.
The 3.7-acre property at 205 South St. has had horses for nearly 50 years. When an ordinance was passed in 2003 to ban farm animals within town limits, the owners were granted permission to keep their horses.
The property has been up for sale and a buyer recently became interested, contingent upon being able to keep horses of his own on the land.
Because the grandfathering would be lost after ownership is transferred, the current owners came to the meeting seeking a possible new ordinance that would allow horses only to be kept in the town. This suggestion was aggressively denied by the council.
"If you make a change for one person, you're opening up a can of worms," Council President Jack Jones said.
Council member Zach Bowers agreed.
"I don't believe there should be farm animals in town," Bowers said. "As soon as we make an ordinance for horses, somebody is going to want a pig. And then we'll have chickens back."
Another community member returned to remind the council about his complaint last July about the debris from a neighbor's large fireworks display that landed on his property.
He hoped to have an ordinance passed to ban such behavior, but was denied because fireworks are regulated by the state. For the first offense, the harshest penalty Roachdale can impose would be a civil infraction, a fine similar to a speeding ticket. The council instead agreed to send a warning letter.
After both discussions, the community member immediately left.
Tuesday's meeting marked the first formal appearance of new town attorney Dave Peebles, hired at last month's meeting. He wasted no time making his presence known.
"You wanted a lawyer, you got a lawyer," Peebles said.
He enforced a policy of reading the length of each ordinance the council passed, although this became too tedious to continue halfway through the first.
It was a 4-page ordinance that repealed previous town ordinances involving personal firearms.
This occurred because in 2011 the state enacted a statute "that prohibits political subdivisions, including towns such as Roachdale, from regulating most firearms and firearm-related activities."
This is meant to protect the township from potential liability issues that could arise. The effect is that Roachdale can no longer have its own codes to stop people from carrying guns.
The council also agreed to allow Clerk-Treasurer Martha Louk to pay small bills without prior approval. In the past, she had only the power to pay when the cause was mentioned on a specified list.
Because council member Barbara Scott was absent from the meeting, every time a motion was seconded it immediately became a unanimous affirmative vote.
The meeting next month was moved to Monday, May 7 at 6 p.m. The council plans to discuss a possible trash-burning ordinance that has been debated in the past.