ROTTERDAM — Chickens may soon be allowed in town.
The Town Board on Wednesday will hold a public hearing on a proposed ordinance that would allow single-family dwellings with at least 9,000 square feet of lot space to own up to six egg-laying hens. Chickens are currently prohibited under current zoning requirements in Rotterdam.
Last month, the Town Board sent the proposed law to the Planning Commission for review, which provided a negative recommendation in a 4-3 vote.
“The Planning Commission believes this proposed accessory use will impact neighbors and will give rise to issues relating to sanitary conditions, notwithstanding the proposed laws requirement for regular cleaning,” the recommendation reads.
If approved, the proposed law, which mirrors legislation in Niskayuna and Guilderland, would require residents interested in having chickens to first acquire a permit from the town that must be renewed on an annual basis at a fee that would be determined at a later date.
A “well-ventilated, predator resistant structure” would be required to house the animals at all times, which must include a minimum of 4 square feet of space per chicken. A chicken run requiring a minimum area of 10 square feet of space per chicken would also be required, according to the law.
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Roosters would be prohibited.
Chicken enclosures and runs would have to be located at least 25 feet from any property, and the structures would be prohibited from being located in the front or side yards of a property, according to the proposed law.
Residents would be permitted to maintain the chickens for personal use only.
“Breeding of chickens, the sale of eggs, meat or other chicken products, and the production or fertilizer are prohibited,” the proposed law states.
Feed would be required to be stored in a metal contained within an enclosed structure and the animals would be required to be fed from a trough. Scattering feed on the ground is prohibited.
The proposal also includes a provision that would allow the town to revoke a permit if the law is not followed and would prohibit a new permit from being issued for two years. Residents would be able to appeal any decision, according to the proposal.
A timeline for when the law could be approved remains unclear.
Following the public hearing, board members would tweak the law or approve the legislation as written, or vote the proposed ordinance down.
Allowing chickens has been a hot-button issue for municipalities throughout the region in recent years.
A similar proposal has been floated in Schenectady in recent years, though any legislation has failed to gain traction. The city currently only allows chickens to be kept for educational purposes with the approval of the city’s corporation counsel.
Chickens are also prohibited in the city of Amsterdam and town of Glenville.
Scotia, meanwhile, only allows fowls to be kept on a property, so long as the animals are not kept within 300 feet of another dwelling.
But neighboring Niskayuna currently allows chickens to be kept under a law similar to Rotterdam’s proposed ordinance, though there are slight differences.
The Niskayuna law, for example, requires chickens to be kept in an enclosure with a minimum of 3 square feet of space per animal instead of four, and allows the towns’ building inspector to issue a written warning and then a $250 fine.
In Guilderland, chickens are allowed, but must be kept in a structure that is at least two feet off the ground and located at least 20 feet from a neighboring property.
A public hearing on the proposed chicken ordinance will take place at the next Rotterdam Town Board meeting 7 p.m. Wednesday at Town Hall, 1100 Sunrise Blvd.
Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.
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I like the Scotia required 300 feet from a neighbor. Twenty five is too close. Especially when the wind is blowing my direction, which is always.