Chicken Ordinance Changes Continued at Planning Board

By Alex Malm

The Londonderry Planning Board discussed a draft of a proposed zoning ordinance amendment regarding poultry during the Feb. 19 meeting.

During last month’s meeting it was explained by Town Planner Colleen Mailloux that they have had an increased interest in owning chickens in Town, which led them to look at “what was reasonable and what makes sense,” regarding possible changes to the ordinance.

“At the request of the Board, Staff have prepared draft language regarding the keeping of livestock and poultry on lots in the AR-1 District,” Mailloux wrote in a memo ahead of the January Board meeting. “The proposed language makes a distinction between livestock and poultry, and would reduce the minimum lot size for poultry to 1 acre. The proposed language also prohibits roosters.”

Right now livestock and horses need to be on more than two acres of property.

Mailloux said that she updated the proposed language from the one presented last month after looking at some of the input raised during the last meeting.

Mailloux said that she heard from some people who have current agricultural uses in Town and explained that those with existing poultry on a property with more than two acres won’t be impacted by the ordinance.

“The new restrictions don’t apply to those properties,” said Mailloux.

Mailloux said that the biggest thing that the Board needed to decide on was whether or not they should change the use from poultry to chicken which would mean they would only allow chickens on lots that are two acres or smaller. If they wanted poultry it would have to be on a lot two acres or bigger.

Ex-Officio Deb Paul said that she likes that change saying that there’s a lot more with turkeys and ducks.

“There’s a lot more to it,” said Paul.

Paul said that years ago chickens were very popular in Londonderry, and said that she is glad that people in Town are interested in them again.

“It’s kinda nice it’s coming back and people are able to do it again,” said Paul.

Planning Board member Lynn Wiles said that he thought they should change it from poultry to chickens.

“I think we should change poultry to chickens,” said Wiles.

Planning Board member Jake Butler asked if they could have a compromise by allowing chickens, ducks and turkeys saying that many people want to be sustainable now.

Planning Board Vice Chair Al Sypek said that they would need to find the best management practices for each animal if they are going to do that.

Mailloux said the only concern is that it may be difficult to identify the different species.

The majority of the Board ultimately agreed to look at what the ordinance would be if they had the different animals. The Board agreed that roosters wouldn’t be allowed.

Another recommendation from code enforcement is that the chickens need to be properly enclosed at all times and there be fencing from them escaping onto public or private property.

Mailloux said that they received some feedback with concerns of poultry and chickens trespassing onto properties.

“It allows it so code enforcement has some teeth if there is a nuisance chicken,” said Mailloux, saying that code enforcement can remind owners that chickens have to stay on their own property.

Mailloux said that she would be looking at different guidance and would return with a draft zoning amendment.

Mailloux added that she would be coming back to the Planning Board with a new draft before they have a public hearing on it.

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