BRATTLEBORO — A neighbor wholeheartedly agrees with the town zoning administrator's determination that two pigs are farm animals, not pets, and should not be kept at the home.
"In no way, shape or form are these pets," said Bud Lolatte, who lives at 110 Chestnut St. West and opposed Sarah Short's appeal of the zoning administrator's determination. "These are hogs. We've gotten apex predators now wandering on the road."
During a hearing Monday with the Brattleboro Development Review Board, Lolatte said fisher-cats and coyotes are now coming up over the bank from the Whetstone Brook into the neighborhood. He claimed the smell of the pigs were to blame for a couple of cats being taken away by fisher-cats in the past two weeks.
"It's an issue all around," he said. "This is a
residential neighborhood, always has been a residential neighborhood, lot of kids, lot of pets, lot of small pets. The property in question is basically becoming a barnyard. There are barnyard smells like a leach field five out of the seven days a week.
"Came home from work today to go to lunch and opened the door, and it hit you like a sledgehammer coming out."
Lolatte told the board the pigs have been in the neighborhood since last summer. He said since the animals have grown, issues around waste disposal, noise and smell have also been growing.
Short was not at the hearing so it was continued until July 17. If Zoning Administrator Brian Bannon's determination is upheld, he said he would ask the board to give Short "a good chunk of time" to find a new home for the animals. But Short has also submitted another application seeking approval to keep the pigs as farm animals if the board decides that is what they are.
Land use regulations in Brattleboro say the keeping of wild animals or livestock other than fowl is not allowed unless approved by the DRB as a conditional use.
Last month, members of the board conducted a site visit at 53 Ivy Lane, which also is in a residential neighborhood district. An application for retroactive approval had been submitted by Miranda Neizer to keep sheep, goats and chickens in an existing shed.
Neizer did not come to Monday's meeting. DRB Chairman James Valente said he would be "nervous" voting without her in attendance. Board members agreed to continue the hearing.
Lolatte works in the Reformer's advertising department.
Reach staff writer Chris Mays at email@example.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.