We found a 30 acre farm in foreclosure about 3 miles north of Dawsonville, GA. We thought we did all the research that we needed to. Looked it up in the county GIS map and checked the zoning (R-A, Residential Agriculture). County zoning rules looked appropriate, so we put in an offer. Frantically getting inspections and quotes on repairs, we failed to discover that it was actually in the city limits of Dawsonville, GA, and zoned R-1 (Residential). Come to find out, the previous owner requested "Annexation" in to the city back in 2005 (with a default zoning of R-1 for all annexed property), when the real estate market was booming (hoping some developer would swoop in and buy it up, is my guess). Well, no developers came, and the farm still looks like a farm. The surrounding area is also undeveloped, large acreage tracts (like over 100 acres each). So, we looked into how R-1 zoning was defined in this rural town of just over 2000 citizens.
If you read no further than this, please check out this article: http://www.dawsonnews.com/section/4/article/8028/ on the deannexation request. If you support safe, locally grown food, please click the "like" button in the upper right-hand corner of the article.
Now, back to the zoning issues. The primary restriction in R-1 that relates to livestock is highlighted:
|Maximum Height of Structure|
Now, that last sentence is interesting. They elude to commercial livestock, but then comes the new RA (Restricted Agricultural) district that was approved March 2011. It's more promising, but still has quite a few restrictions. It also further defines that no fowl (ie. chickens) are allowed in any zoning district inside the City Limits: