Leaving room for cows and horses

  Welcome to our small town, stranger, but don't try to change our rural way of life. Now, sign on the dotted line.

Thanks to a "right to farm provision," adopted as part of a Utah town's development code last March, officials can now make new property owners sign such agreements.

"It's a stipulation that this here is a cow-and-horse community and if you come here, you fully understand the type of environment we have and you're not going to change it," explains Oakley Mayor Ken Woolstenhulme.

The provision says newcomers must acknowledge that "farm work hours run late and begin early and that farm operations may contribute to noises and odors objectionable to some subdivision residents."

Oakley, population about 750, is one of several small towns in Summit County experiencing spill-over boom from Salt Lake City and Park City to the west. County officials also recently approved a six-month building moratorium to give planners time to adopt a "vision and long-range plan" for the area.

Change seems inevitable, but for now the new code assuages the worries of old-time Oakley residents. Mayor Woolstenhulme says many newcomers fit in, but he wonders how much they will change the town: "The people who are buying these lots and building these homes - they are not people who will sit down and milk a cow."

- Chris Smith

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