The council, on March 23, voted 14 to 1 on a first reading to approve creating legislation that would allow for treating llamas the same as horses under city laws, specifically in regard to where they can be kept and how they are cared for, as an accessory use for residential areas. Councilmember Jim Bowlin (Ward 6) was opposed and David Sewell (Ward 6) was absent.
Joe Vujnich, the city’s director of planning and parks, told the council during a public hearing that the situation came up after the Wier family recently moved from Illinois to 4.2 acres on Glencoe Road in Wildwood.
Joe Wier, the couple’s son, also a Wildwood resident and a teacher at Rockwood’s Lafayette High, told the council that his parents’ llama herd is down to about 15 animals on a site they have fenced.
“There are no plans to replenish the herd as the llamas go,” he said, adding that a number of the animals are about 24 years old.
“My parents don’t look to turn a profit on these animals,” he said.
Vujnich said the new legislation would change the category of llamas – now considered domestic animals in the city, which must be kept on a farm of no less than 5 acres – to being an accessory use on a home site, such as horses, which are allowed on a minimum 3-acre, fenced property.
“We have no limit for the number of horses on a property, and it would be the same for llamas,” Vujnich said, adding that having a stable on the property would be optional, as it now is for horses.
Councilmember Marc Cox (Ward 4) wondered “whether we’ve had complaints on this large number of llamas.”
Vujnich said the city hasn’t received any.
Bowlin was concerned that the planned legislation would have no limits on the number of llamas that could be kept.
“There are a number of unknowns with this and a lot of potential situations that could come up that haven’t been thought through, where implications of this legislation could come into play,” he said in opposing the legislation.