Planners explore allowing horses within city limits

Wild horses couldn’t drag the Morristown Planning Commission away from talking about horses Tuesday.

Now tamed horses could come to the city.

The Morristown Planning Commission requested that city planners start investigating a way that homeowners could legally own horses within the city limits after a homeowner said he would change his rezoning request if the city would look at allowing him a way to have horses on his property.

“All I’m asking is for a couple of horses,” said Jason Messer, a Morristown homeowner.

Messer came before the planning commission requesting that his property on Callaway Drive be rezoned from residential to agricultural. Planners balked at the idea, though, saying that it was spot zoning due to no other agriculturally-zoned plots were nearby and also if the city rezoned the property it would mean such things as dog kennels would be allowed.

Messer owns 6.6 acres. He admitted to the planning commission he is in the process of selling the house and said part of the reason was due to not being able to have horses on the property for his daughter.

He said he could develop the land, but he doesn’t have the resources.

“It does me no good to have all that land and not able to do anything with it,” he said.

Jack Kennerly, vice chairman of the planning commission, mentioned that the city had studied the idea of chickens and then later made changes in the city ordinance to allow that livestock.

“Maybe that needs to be done for horses as well,” Kennerly said.

Messer said he would withdraw his rezoning request if the city looked at a possible ordinance allowing horses.

“I think there may be other property owners who would benefit as well,” he said.

Planners said they would come back within the next few months on recommendations on how to make owning horses legal within the city. Messer then withdrew his request. The planning commission also voted 8-0 to rezone a parcel located on Old Liberty Hill Road from agriculture to residential. The owner of the property plans to subdivide the 6.8-acre property into six lots to develop.