There was a busy public hearing before Revelstoke city councillors approved a rezoning application to allow for a hobby farm at the meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 20.
Alison and John Lapinshoff applied to rezone their 1.7-hectare property on 378 Highway 23 North from residential (R2) to rural residential, to allow for a hobby farm with livestock.
The proposal was debated on Facebook with many divided opinions and it raised the issue of food security in the community. While many Revelstoke residents supported the idea, many neighbours close by opposed it, concerned about noise, smell and bear attractants.
City councillors voted 4-1 in support. Coun. Orlando, Nixon and Salz and Brothers supported the application while Mayor McKee was opposed. Coun. English and Duke were absent.
Alison said their idea is smaller than neighbours may have thought.
“I think they were envisioning us doing something a lot bigger than what we intend to do,” she said. “I think that scared them. but we just wanted to be able to have a few animals, not necessarily all the time.”
The rezoning allows livestock, restricted to honeybees, a combined total of 12 pigs, sheep or goats and a total of 50 fowl at any time. Some neighbours were concerned about this amount.
“It is our contention that a farm of this size is better suited to a more rural environment as can be found south of the airport,” neighbours Doug and Carol Mayer wrote in a letter. (Read all the letters here.)
The Lapinshoffs both have full time jobs and are raising a child and Alison said the farm would be a part-time operation. She spoke to some of the opposing neighbours after the hearing and said their intent is to not disturb anyone. The couple plan to have the animals halfway up the property on a natural bench.
“I think it’s going to be far enough away from their houses that they won’t notice it,” Alison said.
“Initially we will maybe get a couple of sheep and a few chickens. We don’t have a big grandiose plans we just want to be able to do this legally.”