Nibley city leaders try to balance growth, agricultural heritage
NIBLEY, Utah – In the backyard of the Dustin home, the family pets that get the most attention are not what you might expect. Together, the three brothers: 9-year-old Asher, 12-year-old Lincoln, and 15-year-old Luke, all have nine goats.
“Goats can be bad. They can be funny,” Asher Dustin said, adding that the goats often escape. “They can be good, but mostly just bad.”
The boys’ father, Shaun Dustin, who happens to be the mayor, says the family might have initially got the animals for the wrong reason.
“We had too much grass and not enough mower,” Dustin said. “We’ve learned that lawn mowers are actually cheaper than fences.”
Still, the goats have grown on them over the years.
“They are really fun to have around,” Dustin said. “They have a lot of personality.”
But while family goats are not a common sight in Nibley, they’re not all that unusual either. City Councilman Larry Jacobsen currently has seven at his home, though they really belong to his wife, Becky.
“It was a package deal,” Becky Jacobsen said, laughing. “He took me on and the goats, and it kind of never went away.”
Larry Jacobsen says he’s grown to appreciate the animals.
“I’ve learned to. It’s an acquired taste,” he said in jest.
While the Jacobsen and Dustin family goat pens are not full-fledged farms, they represent the longtime heritage the town has enjoyed.
“People come to Nibley, I think because there’s kind of a rural feel to it, a rural atmosphere,” Dustin said.
However, as a demand for housing continues, Nibley, like many other communities, is starting to feel the squeeze for lots, opening up for development. Dustin says city leaders are striving to keep a balance between the town’s past and future.
“We’re trying to preserve open space,” Dustin said. “And do that in a way that still allows people to take advantage of what they’ve earned over their lives, but also preserve some of the things that are important to us as a people.”
Dustin says the city council has managed to keep open spaces in some of the newer developments, but that it’s a struggle they’ll continue to face for some time.
“If we don’t get out in front of it as a people, and if we don’t figure out how to plan this stuff so that we can have managed growth, in that kind of preservation that seems to be so important to us, then what’s going to happen is it’s going to be chipped away,” Dustin said.
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