Planning Board Discusses Changes in Chicken Ordinance

By Alex Malm

Londonderry Town Planner Colleen Mailloux said that they have received inquiries from people in town regarding the zoning rules for owning chickens.

Because of the increased interest in people in Londonderry wanting to own chickens, Mailloux said it was a prompt to “look at what was reasonable and what makes sense,” regarding possible changes to the ordinance.

During the Jan. 12 Londonderry Planning Board meeting the Board had a workshop regarding a possible amendment 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 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.”

It was explained by Mailloux that right now the ordinance makes it so livestock including poultry and horses need to be on lots that are two acres or more.

Mailloux said that in the amendment it would add a definition for poultry which would be “Winged and feathered animals including, but not limited to, chickens, hens, roosters, ducks, geese, and turkeys.”

Additionally, Mailloux said that they added language into the amendment that states “Agricultural operations shall be conducted in accordance with the ‘Manual of Best Management Practices (BMP) for Agriculture in New Hampshire, published by the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture , Markets and Food.”

Ex-Officio Deb Paul who owns chickens on more than two acres of land said that she was in favor of the possible zoning amendment.

“I like this, I think it’s good,” said Paul.

She noted that she thinks it should be two tiered so those with a half acre of land could be allowed to own around five chickens and a small coup, saying that she doesn’t think it should be a big deal.

Planning Board member Jeff Penta said he wouldn’t be opposed to seeing the minimum requirement reduced to .5 acres of land with some restrictions.

“This is NH. We definitely want to promote sustainability and I think this is one of the situations that allows us to do that,” said Penta.

Planning Board Chairman Arthur Rugg said that he thinks they need it to be non commercial.

Mailloux said that may be more difficult for them to define.

Mailloux said that they are going to try to establish poultry density for the final version of the proposed amendment. Once the final proposed changes are drafted based on the Board’s feedback it will be brought back for their consideration.

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