Want to raise goats in Pismo Beach? There are new rules you’ll need to know

Dana McGregor with his three goats Pismo, front, Grover, right, and Goatee at his home in Pismo Beach in 2013.
Dana McGregor with his three goats Pismo, front, Grover, right, and Goatee at his home in Pismo Beach in 2013. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

If you’ve ever considered getting a goat, and you live in Pismo Beach, there are a new set of rules you should be aware of.

The Pismo Beach City Council on Tuesday approved an amendment to city code that adds regulations for the raising of goats in the city. Previously, anyone wishing to have goats in Pismo Beach had to apply for special permission from city council.

Now, the council has added goats to its rules regarding density and animals — which already applied to chickens, rabbits, sheep, cattle and horses, among other animals — and changed the permitting process to staff approval rather than council approval.

“I’d just like to thank the staff for getting involved in all this animal husbandry, to be able to come up with something we can work with, and make future decisions at the staff level,” Mayor Ed Waage said.

The new rules specify how large your lot must be if you wish to keep goats on your property.

To raise two goats, your lot must be at least 9,000 square feet; three goats requires 14,000 square feet; and four requires a lot of at least 19,000 square feet. The rules specify that no more than four goats are allowed on any lot in the city.

Under existing city code, goats are already not allowed to devegetate an area (except for short-term weed abatement); they cannot present a significant odor problem; they must be kept at least 25 feet from an open-water drainage system; there can’t be any other goats within 200 feet of the property boundary; and owners and tenants of properties within 300 feet of a site applying to raise goats must be notified of the application.

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Pismo Beach has a fascinating history with goats:

It’s notably home to world-famous surfing goats, Pismo and Goatee (the latter even has a children’s book written about it).

In 2014, the goats’ fame prompted the city to reconsider its rules banning the animals from smaller lots in town; at the time the council decided to allow up to four goats on private property in the city, but did not include any specifications for lot sizes.

Then in September of this year, resident John Hiatt became the second person to apply for a goat-keeping permit in the city after a complaint was submitted to Code Compliance. Hiatt’s application to raise two pygmy goats in his home in a residential neighborhood was approved.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie