Nova Scotia

Lucasville zoning rules should be reviewed, councillor says after horse farm dispute

The zoning rules in Lucasville need to be reviewed, a Halifax councillor says after recent controversy about a horse farm in the suburban community.

'The land-use bylaws are more than 30 years old and completely out of date,' says Lisa Blackburn

Memento Farm, also known as Goldring Stables, set up an equestrian operation along the Lucasville Road, drawing complaints from nearby neighbours. (CBC)

The zoning rules in Lucasville need to be reviewed, a Halifax councillor says after a recent dispute about a horse farm in the suburban community.

"The land-use bylaws are more than 30 years old and completely out of date," said Lisa Blackburn. "Lucasville is now a residential community." 

Some local residents are worried that more agricultural operations will spring up in the area after a recent decision related to Memento Farm.

"You could look out your back door and all of a sudden there could be four or five horse farms," said local businessman Brian Murray. "There's a big need for the boarding of horses."

Murray represented a group of Lucasville neighbours during a July hearing of the Farm Practices Review Board, outlining their complaints about odours, run-off and rodents from Memento Farm's manure pile. 

Community members near Memento Farm have aired a long list of grievances, including offensive odours and run-off from manure piles. (CBC)

But the Review Board recently ruled that Memento Farm — also known as Goldring Stables — is following "normal" farm practices.

The land is zoned multi-use (MU1), which allows for agriculture. 

Memento Farm was established in 2002, and is home to 35 horses on a 4.2-hectare site. There are no rules that cap the number of animals to the size of the property.

The conflict first came to light in 2014, when the farm's owners wanted to expand one of their buildings. That prompted neighbours to step forward with a long list of grievances, though the owners said at the time they never personally received any complaints.

"The province could work with the city and define what intensive agriculture means for HRM," said Murray. "In this case it's horses, but it could be cows, it could be pigs."

Local MLA Ben Jessome said he sympathizes with the concerns of the residents and acknowledges that mixed-use properties can create problems. "But this is predominantly a municipal issue," he said. 

Lucasville residents who'd like to get the ball rolling on zoning changes will have a chance to talk to planners at a community meeting planned for Oct. 12 at the Lucasville Community Centre, Blackburn said.

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