Tammy Mutasa, NBC 5 Mesquite Reporter
The Mesquite City Council is debating whether or not a property owner can breed and sell miniature donkeys in a residential area.
A North Texas business owner is at the center of one of the most unusual zoning cases in Mesquite.
The City Council is debating whether or not the property owner can breed and sell miniature donkeys in a residential area.
Lonnie Craine gets a kick out of running business, but he says the City of Mesquite is kicking him back, for his miniature donkey business plan.
"They're really trying to control something that is probably a non issue," said Craine.
The long-time business owner has 11 miniature donkeys on 12 acres of residential property that he wants rezoned for agriculture use, so he can breed and sell the animals, expanding his business.
"The money they can gain is off of sales tax for business," said Craine. "It would be a shame to have this place to be subdivided into something that's its not, this property has always been 'ag' and our plan is to keep it that way."
Craine said it made sense to breed the donkeys on the land because its right next to Mesquite's biggest tourist attraction, the rodeo.
But city leaders are looking over the case, raising concerns, saying the zoning changes could open the door for agriculture tax exemptions which could hurt development of the land down the road.
"If the property changed ownership, it would be a challenge to have someone purchase the property for a different type of use," said Wayne Larson with the City of Mesquite.
The city is trying to work out a deal allowing Craine to have more miniature donkeys and other animals on the land, without changing the zoning.
"There would be some limitations but what we're offering to the owner would allow him to continue to the business plan that he presented to the council," said Larson.
As the case goes back for debate on Jan. 22 both Craine and the City of Mesquite hope the other won't stay as stubborn as the animals in question.