Smith v. Board of Adjustment, City of Smithfield

Our clients, not to mention the homeowners before them, had kept a few cows in their spacious backyard going back decades. They enjoyed caring for them, and they enjoyed the fresh milk. They had an "urban farm" before it was cool. (Admit it: if you don't have chickens, then your neighbors do.)

Our clients' abutting neighbor wasn't feeling the bovine love. It seems he considered Smithfield quite urban and sophisticated. Indeed, it seems he considered the mooing and cud chewing and milking and pooing quite an indignity to be borne from his kitchen window or back porch.

Smithfield's zoning ordinances had changed over time to prohibit livestock in that part of town. However, our clients' tiny hobby dairy remained legal as a "pre-existing non-conforming use" as long as we could demonstrate the continuous presence of a few cows.

The disgruntled neighbor attacked our clients' right to keep cattle at the city, district court, and appellate court levels. We won at every level. Here's the Utah Court of Appeals' decision. The highlight of this case: how generations of neighbors rallied to provide a nice set of affidavits documenting the presence of Bessie and Lulabelle (names changed to protect the innocent) going way, way back.