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Municipal – Zoning – Residential – Agriculture Restrictions – Potbellied Pigs 

Municipal – Zoning – Residential – Agriculture Restrictions – Potbellied Pigs 

Petitioner kept ten potbellied pigs as pets, but the “Limited Agriculture” provision of the respondent-town’s zoning ordinance, which applies to petitioner’s residential property, prohibits the keeping of “livestock such as . . . swine. . . .” Although petitioner may treat her pigs as pets, the ordinance provision does not distinguish between commercial and non-commercial, domestic uses.

We affirm the superior court order upholding the board of adjustment’s (the Board’s) decision that keeping the potbellied pigs on petitioner’s residential property violated the town’s zoning ordinance.

The zoning ordinance also includes a Table of Permitted Uses, which provides that “Agricultural Production (Crops and Livestock)” is not permitted on residential property, like petitioner’s. The ordinance does not define “Agricultural Production.”

Petitioner contends there was no “production” going on at her home. However, construing and harmonizing the disputed provisions together, the Table “Agricultural Production (Crops and Livestock)” allows for crops and livestock only in certain zoned land and the “Limited Agriculture” provision of the ordinance plainly prohibits the keeping of swine on residential land. Considering these provisions in pari materia, there is no room for judicial construction of the term “production.”

Petitioner argues that the town failed to present reasonable evidence that she was engaged in a nonconforming use at the time she bought her property in 2000. The town was unable to produce the zoning map that was in effect in 2000. However, the town planning director testified that, based upon the minutes of the town records, the land had been annexed in 1988 and all annexed land had been designated single-family residential. This was substantial and competent evidence to support the Board’s determination that petitioner’s use violated the town’s zoning ordinance.


Herron v. Town of Jamestown (Lawyers Weekly No. 012-348-22, 16 pp.) (Lucy Inman, J.) Appealed from Guilford County Superior Court (Stuart Albright, J.) Harvey Barbee for petitioner; Christopher Finan, Elizabeth Koonce and Zachary Green for respondent. 2022-NCCOA-566

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