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Pity the goat with hopes of feasting on a tidy backyard lawn. City planners have given them the hoof, for now.

After county health officials said they were concerned about the safety of consuming unpasteurized or improperly pasteurized milk from goats, planners said they needed to do more research before recommending changing city rules to allow San Diego residents to keep the animals as backyard pets.

Planners had originally included backyard goats on a list of several proposed rule changes intended to promote food production in local neighborhoods. But at a council committee meeting on Wednesday, they said they would remove goats from the list of proposed rule changes.

“When the county department of environmental health sends you a letter, you do need to take a second look,” said Dan Joyce, a city planner.

Planners will move forward with finalizing several other rule changes in the hopes of having them approved by the City Council by the end of January. They include more lenient rules for backyard chickens, allowing produce stands on private commercial property, and allowing a new kind of farm-based neighborhood business — a retail farm where owners can grow produce and sell it on site or let customers pick it themselves.

Joyce said he also expects to include a rule change to allow beekeeping in most backyards, but is still researching safety issues. Goats may be considered later on.

At the meeting on Wednesday, council members were enthusiastic about the proposed rule changes, and told Joyce they looked forward to bringing them to the full council for a vote in January.

In June, the City Council eliminated restrictions on starting community gardens on most vacant land within the city. Since then, food advocates have been working with city planners to draft the current proposals for further loosening agriculture restrictions. They want to allow the chickens for eggs, beehives for honey production, and produce stands and retail farms that residents could set up to sell fruits and vegetables in their communities.

If they’re approved, the current rule changes would be the most wide-reaching policy change the city has adopted yet as it tries to promote urban agriculture in the city and make it easier for residents to grow, raise or sell their own food.

Adrian Florido is a reporter for voiceofsandiego.org. He covers San Diego’s neighborhoods. What should he write about next?

Contact him directly at adrian.florido@voiceofsandiego.org or at 619.325.0528.

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Adrian Florido

Adrian Florido is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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