UNION — A family living within the Union city limits will be allowed to keep its four kunekune pet pigs.
The Union City Council voted following a hearing Wednesday night, Sept. 23, to uphold a conditional use permit the city’s planning commission issued giving Lindsey Bennington-McDowell, a single mom with two children, permission to keep the pigs. The city council conducted its hearing after six neighbors of Bennington-McDowell, who lives at 960 W. Hickory Place, appealed the decision. A successful appeal would have prevented Bennington-McDowell, from keeping her pigs.
Bennington-McDowell needed a conditional use permit to keep the pigs because the only farm animals Union allows within its city limits are horses, cattle, fowl, goats, sheep and rabbits. No city policies prohibit keeping pigs but one does state anyone with livestock outside of those on the list needs a conditional use permit.
About half a dozen people at the hearing voiced their objections to the presence of the pigs. Several were neighbors who live within 400 feet of the pigs and said they will lower their property values, emit foul odors and lead to more people in Union getting pigs. Roy King, a neighbor, was among those who spoke in opposition.
“We have a treasure here. The council should add to and build this treasure,” said King, referring to Union’s quality of life.
Jim Sheehy, also a neighbor of Bennington-McDowell, spoke in support of the pigs.
“They are not impeding the livability of the neighborhood at all,” Sheehy said.
Bennington-McDowell also told the city council that pigs are not impacting livability and are dear to her family.
“We love them, they are our pets,” she said during the hearing.
A number of people spoke about the problems pigs pose in general and the city’s ordinance. However, city councilors Sue Hawkins and Terra Richer said following the hearing they had not heard enough specific complaints about the pigs to overturn the planning commission’s decision.
The city council, however, attached two additional conditions to the conditional use permit.
One requires the city to inspect Bennington-McDowell’s home to make sure conditions for the pigs are proper. A second limits the number of pigs Bennington-McDowell can have to four. The previous limit was five, which was based on the two acres of land Bennington-McDowell has, said Union City Administrator Doug Wiggins.