Become The Expert on Local Info
In the eyes of your potential clients, you want to be the local expert. On everything. Filling your website with solid, well researched, local market information and content will go a long way towards establishing you as that expert.
Think about this for a minute. A potential home buyer or seller, searching the internet, can find thousands of articles, pages, websites, and blog posts, that deal with general information like; “How to Finance Your Dream Home” or “What to Look for During a Home Inspection.” But few if any Realtors are providing them with, i.e. local information like, “Where to Live if You Have a Horse.”
Additionally, how many buyers and sellers do you suppose would share an article like “What to Look for During a Home Inspection?” That kind of information is all over the internet. Anyone can find it. But an article about their own town or city or neighborhood? An article with information specific to their community? That’s shareable content. And that’s what you want on your website.
Check out the sample article below and when you’re ready to set started driving traffic to your site, give me a call or drop me a line.
Corrals are Okay – Where to Live in Rochester if You Have a Horse
When the older of our two beautiful granddaughters turned four, my son designed and I helped him build, an amazing castle in their basement – complete with princess tower and portcullis. (Fancy word for that wooden gate/door that blocks the entrance to the castle.)
Kidding my son I said, “Considering the expense and labor you’re going to for her fourth birthday what’s little sister going to get when she turns four? A pony?”
If you live in an apartment or a condo you get a kitty or Poodle. If you live in suburbia with a big yard you can get a Labrador or a Golden Retriever. But a horse presents a whole different set of challenges – not the least of which is the size of the pooper-scooper you need.
If you’re a parent who was somehow overcome by the pleading deep blue eyes of a 12-year-old in the grips of pony-fever, fear not. In this article, we’ll show you all the areas around Rochester where it’s okay to have a corral.
Zoning Makes the Difference
There is no zoning ordinance – at least in Olmsted County – prohibiting you from keeping a cat or dog in your home. Unless you have more than five of either – then it’s called a kennel and there are ordinances about that.
As you might imagine it’s a bit different when it comes to horses and goats, sheep, llamas and the like; they’re considered livestock and are only allowed in certain zoning districts.
A Zoning District Primer
Back in the early to mid-1970’s Olmsted County – the County that Rochester is in – adopted their zoning ordinance. At that time they assigned zoning districts to different areas of the city and county.
Existing residential neighborhoods, for the most part, were zoned R-1; Single Family Residential District. Residential areas with denser development – like apartments or condos or townhomes – may have been zoned R-2; Low-Density Residential District, or R-3; Medium Density Residential District. And then, of course, there were the areas of the county that were primarily agricultural in nature. Those areas may have been zoned A-1, A-2 or A-3; Agricultural Protection District(s). As you might imagine there’s no problem keeping horses in the Ag districts.
Animal Units – as defined in the zoning ordinance – are not allowed in the residential districts. Save of course for cats or dogs or gerbils or hamsters or a 20-foot Boa Constrictor – as long as you have as previously described – fewer than five of each. (My guess is if you have a Boa Constrictor you won’t also have hamsters – at least not for long.)
But of course, at the inception of the zoning ordinance, there were people – typically living in the more suburban areas – who did have animal units – like horses – on their property. The City couldn’t very well march in the hobnailed boot brigade and say, “Get rid of the horse that you’ve had since it was a pony,” so they created the RA; Rural Residential District which – you guessed it – allows animal units.
I quote from the Olmsted County zoning ordinance;
Section 6.00 R-A: Rural Residential District:
2. Keeping and raising of livestock and poultry for personal use, and as an accessory use only, provided they are housed and fenced so as not to become a nuisance and are clearly non-commercial in nature. The animal density shall not be greater than one (1) animal unit per acre of pastureland, except for the raising of poultry where the maximum number of chickens shall not exceed 50 chickens. In no case shall any structure used for housing poultry or livestock be located nearer than fifty (50) feet to any property line.
So what does that mean exactly for you and your horse? For starters, technically, if your lot in an RA District is less than two acres in size – you probably can’t have a horse. The reason being, once you take out the area for your house, driveway, and yard – you’re probably not going to have a full acre left – which you need for the horse, according to the ordinance.
That said, there aren’t many RA zoned lots that are less than two acres. If your RA zoned lot is, for example, five acres, you could probably have four horses – providing you meet the rest of the ordinance requirements.
One other little arcane tidbit of information you might find interesting; animal units are subject to a definition that is based on – and I’m not kidding here – how much the animal poops. The larger the animal the more poop. Horses are considered “1 animal unit.”
The Bottom Line: Neighborhoods Where Corrals are Okay
It didn’t make much sense to try and describe where the RA neighborhoods are so I made some (downloadable PDF) maps for you. Sometimes it’s an entire neighborhood and sometimes it’s just a lot or two. Use the maps to explore the neighborhoods and search for homes where your little Rainbow Bright will feel welcome.
Also keep in mind that while the zoning ordinance in these areas allows the keeping of animal units, there may be homeowner association rules in effect that don’t allow horses. If you find a home for sale in one of the RA zones you’ll just have to consult your Realtor – or the seller – to be sure.
Happy horse house hunting!
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