San Marcos City Council voted 5-2 in the first of two votes on an ordinance allowing miniature goats to be kept at residential zoned districts in San Marcos for the purpose of urban farming.

The proposed ordinance defines miniature goats as pygmy goats bred to have a maximum shoulder height of 23 inches and weight of 70 pounds, and dwarf goats with a maximum shoulder height of 23.5 inches and weight of 80 pounds.

Place 6 Council Member Melissa Derrick and Place 4 Council Member Shane Scott were the dissenting votes.

"One of the messages I got from a friend of mine, who works on a farm but lives in the city, was [no] they don't make good neighbors," Derrick said during the meeting.

Derrick questioned city staff about how complaints related to smells and other nuisances would be handled.

"We'd handle it just like any other noise complaint, same with any odors or any other nuisance that comes from them," Director of Neighborhood Enhancement Greg Carr said. "That is one reason that we require two goats, and not just one ... because one goat will get lonely and be a little bit more noisy."

Two goats would also be the maximum number of goats allowed.

If passed, there would be a number of requirements for goat owners. Male goats would have to be neutered; they would need to be housed in a predator-proof shed with ventilation and must be located at least 20 feet from any adjacent residence or business structure, excluding the owner's.

The shed must also be watertight, have at least 10 square feet of space, and have at least three sides and a roof.

The animals must also have a minimum of 400 square feet of space secured in a way that prevents escape. More details about the ordinance can be found on the city's website.