A Blairsden couple wants to raise a few chickens, and maybe add a few alpacas, but adjacent RV park owners worry that their vacationers and the animals won’t make good neighbors.
The Plumas Board of Supervisors listened to persuasive arguments from both sides before eventually siding with the chickens.
Norbert and Christine Schneider own 42 acres off of Little Bear Road in Blairsden, zoned for recreation. But to raise chickens or alpacas, they needed to add the farm animal combining zone to their property.
A public hearing was held in front of the supervisors Jan. 8 to consider the request.
Christine Schneider told the supervisors that she and her husband wanted to raise chickens, perhaps six to 12, for “personal use only.”
The alpacas would be sometime in the future, if at all, to gather wool, also for personal use.
“We want to become more self-sufficient,” Norbert Schneider told the supervisors.
“We just want a few fresh eggs and the wool,” his wife said.
She said that she had received concerned calls and visits from neighbors, who had received notification of the proposed zone change and she said, “I apologize if we caused any undue stress or anxiety.”
A handful of neighbors attended the hearing and asked for clarification about where on the property the animals would be housed.
The Schneiders plan to keep the chickens and alpacas near their home, which would be out of view of most.
“If you’re going to keep them by the house, I don’t have any objection,” neighbor Ken Stark said.
But Todd Kuraisa, owner of Little Bear RV Park, listed a variety of concerns stemming from operating a tourist-based business next to the Schneiders’ property.
Odor, insects, water contamination and predators topped his list of concerns.
“Ninety-nine percent of my guests are from the city,” Kuraisa said, and “they want clean mountain air.”
He said that if guests had to deal with foul odors and insects that “he would be out of business in a few short years.”
Kuraisa said that the farm animals could attract more mountain lions to the area and he feared what would happen if one of his guests were maimed or killed.
Supervisor Jon Kennedy said that the “Department of Fish and (Wildlife) would confirm” the attracting of mountain lions and added, “They would want to eat an alpaca.”
He also empathized with Kuraisa’s concern about the potential smell.
“Have you been to an alpaca farm?” Norbert Schneider asked. “They don’t smell.”
Kuraisa said he also worried about future uses of the land with the zoning change.
Supervisor Kennedy said he understood. “What they’re going to do won’t affect your place,” Kennedy said to Kuraisa, “but the next person might.”
“This is not as simple as I thought,” Supervisor Sherrie Thrall said.
The supervisors also discussed Kuraisa’s ability to file a complaint if any of his concerns became a reality, but he countered that it would be too late, that the damage would be done.
Despite his concerns, the supervisors voted to move forward with the zone change.
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