Tiburon residents are divided over a cow dispute

A Tiburon resident’s desire to keep cattle on his property on Paradise Drive has divided residents in the Paradise Cay neighborhood.

Eric Crandall, who lives with his family on a 10-acre, barn-shaped property in Marin County, is seeking a conditional use permit to keep four thousand cows on his land in the affluent, coastal enclave.

The two cows currently there — 600- to 700-pound Belfair miniature cows named Holly and Mocha — have sparked controversy over the legality of owning cows in a peninsula residential neighborhood and its impact on the surrounding community.

“Cows are part of our family. They’ve helped us improve our property. My daughters love them. My wife and our family are excited to milk them and experience all they have to offer,” Crandall said.

Dina Tasini, Tiburo’s director of community development, said the Planning Commission opted to continue the Sept. 14 hearing on the conditional use permit request for 45 to 60 days so Crandall and city staff can work on a waste management plan, bay drainage and evacuation. let them know. issues.

“It’s uncharted territory with these mini cows,” Tasini said.

Mocha and Holly currently live on a fenced, 2-acre lot that is zoned for residential planned development. The property — one of the largest parcels on nearly 10 acres — is about 600 feet from the shoreline and is bordered by Paradise Drive in Tiburon and Trinidad Drive in Paradise Cay, an unincorporated neighborhood.

Opponents argue that mini-cows will affect property values ​​in such a dense residential area that is not designed for agriculture. They further argue that there are other issues that need to be addressed, such as odors, waste management and whether the livestock can increase the number of cattle beyond the proposed four cows.

Trinidad Drive resident Cynthia Massey-Kim said the erosion and runoff is affecting Paradise Cay residents further down the property. He suggested that the California State Water Resources Control Board review potential pollution impacts.

“Supporting Mr. Crandall’s sweet cows and favoring fresh milk is not the same experience for someone like me who lives, breathes and hears the cows in Caye every day,” he said at a Sept. 14 planning commission meeting.

“The community that lives closest to the property will have to deal with all the impacts that the cows are having every day,” he said.

Cows are technically off limits. Tasini said when the property is annexed to the city, the city will have to apply to Crandall for a conditional use permit to keep the cattle.

He said he would not be subject to enforcement action because he was working on legal remedies for the petition. If he was refused and his appeal rejected, he would be prosecuted if he did not remove the cows.

The increase is suggested because cows must have a calf to produce milk.

Tasini said he does not believe there are any conditional use permits related to cow ownership in Tiburon.

Tasini said planning is ongoing to determine if there is water contamination or if there is a baseline to establish for future testing. The test is scheduled for this month.

The next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 9, but the council will likely take up the matter again on Dec. 14, city staff said. If the Planning Commission rejects the proposal, Crandall can appeal to the City Council. He said he plans to do so if his application is denied.

The Crandalls bought the property in April 2019 and renovated a house on the site.

When Crandall bought the property, “it was a mess and it grew,” he said. “It was like something out of a horror movie.”

Cows helped clear the vegetation – proponents raised a point about fire safety. However, conflicts with neighbors were already arising. Crandall said the first week he owned the cows, he picked up a newspaper and saw an article about the cows in the police magazine.

He believes the problem stems only from neighbors who don’t want him to use the beach on their property or develop the property he’s bought.

“Most of our neighbors really like us. “But there’s a group of Paradise Cay that loved it even more when it was empty.”

The Crandalls bought the cows in August 2021 when they were 6 months old. At the time, the property was part of unincorporated Marin County. They soon learned that they needed to merge with the city of Tiburon to gain access to the sewer district surrounding the property. The annexation was completed in November.

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