The Palmer Post


Resident Ticketed for Farm Animals in City Despite Ordinance Being Suspended by Joey G. Dauben
November 5, 2010, 8:43 pm
Filed under: City of Palmer, Palmer Police Dept.

My entire intent with this article is to influence the outcome of the City of Palmer’s desired result in issuing a citation and fining this man for having farm animals inside the city limits. I want the article to put so much pressure on the city prosecutor that dismissing the case would be the only logical step in resolving this…just read further (and pay attention to the Nov. 12, 2010 issue of The Palmer Post.)

Palmer Resident Ticketed for Farm Animals in City

JOEY G. DAUBEN
The Palmer Post
publisher@thepalmerpost.com
PALMER – James Branson was ticketed for having farm animals on his property, but the City of Palmer ordinance that he was ticketed under was suspended in 2006.

Branson faces Palmer Municipal Court Judge Bill J. Scott on Wednesday, Nov. 17 to argue his case.

Ordinance No. 178, which prohibited horses and other animals on land less than an acre and prohibited farm animals from being enclosed in a barn, shed or stall within 250-feet of a neighbor, was suspended by a city council vote in July of 2006, meaning there is no enforcement mechanism in place to fine someone for violating it. However, the city is moving forward against Branson anyway.

Ordinance No. 178, which prohibited horses and other animals on land less than an acre and prohibited farm animals from being enclosed in a barn, shed or stall within 250-feet of a neighbor, was suspended by a city council vote in July of 2006, meaning there is no enforcement mechanism in place to fine someone for violating it. However, the city is moving forward against Branson anyway.

Branson was ticketed by Palmer Police Officer Sid Lopez on the ordinance violation, but documents submitted to the city’s prosecutor recently showed the council meeting minutes where Ordinance 178 was suspended. No record exists of the ordinance enforcement being re-activated, documents showed.

The ordinance — prior to the city council voting to suspend it — came under scrutiny when retired businessman and Palmer resident John Templer was given permission by the city council to build a “party barn” in the back of his yard on Jefferson Street that included several horse stalls and was less than 250 feet from his next-door neighbor, former Councilman Greg Penny.

The city was then subsequently sued by Templer because he was “promised he could build” the barn by the council despite what the ordinance stated. Then-Court at Law No. 1 Judge Bob Carroll, who will swear in as the new 40th District Court judge in January, ruled that Palmer had a history of not enforcing ordinances and therefore, Templer was allowed to keep his barn. Ordinance No. 178 was still in effect when Carroll made his ruling, but it wasn’t to be enforced on Templer.

Part of Branson’s defense could depend on the previous court case that effectively created an immunity protection on Templer for his horse barn.

After the court ruling from Carroll, who served from 1998 to 2007, the city council’s July 19 vote suspended the enforcement of the ordinance.

It’s not apparent what punishment (more than likely a Class C misdeanor, or a ticket) the city could tack on to Branson despite the ordinance not being in effect, but if Branson were to appeal, the case would start on a de novo basis, in essence, starting an entirely new case from scratch, as Palmer’s municipal court does not have a “court of record,” or a court reporter who transcribes testimony.

Advertisements

1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

Thank you for your support in this matter. Please try to attend the court hearing if possilbe.

Comment by JAMES BRANSON




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: