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Domestic fowl law tabled in Evans

EVANS — The Evans town board voted to table the Domestic Fowl Law, a proposed law that would allow for the raising of chickens on certain residential zoned parcels, after hearing arguments both for and against the law, during a public hearing. A number of residents spoke in favor of the newly proposed law.

“I am for having chickens,” said Sherry Nugent, a North Lane resident. “I believe that it is my constitutional right to grow my own food in a manner that I see appropriate. A few chickens in the neighborhood is something that I desire to have.”

“I am for this law for a few simple reasons,” said Jaime Rozborski of East Sterling, Angola. “I know there are a lot of misconceptions around that they could attract pests and that they are dirty, and there are a lot of negative feelings towards them. I found on the [Center for Disease Control] website that the CDC considers backyard chicks to be pets. I also found, in my research, that it takes four or five chickens an entire day to produce the equivalent of one dog going to the bathroom one time. With roosters, hens make a lot less noise and the only time they make noise is when they lay an egg, and even then, it’s quieter than a dog barking. I think it’s a great thing for the people in our town.”

“I grew up in the country and we always had chickens,” Annette Garrasi, of North Lane, said. “I think it would be good to have something like that in the neighborhood. Some people have dogs that are more annoying than anything.”

Rozborski also spoke further on the law itself, as it is written. “I looked at the law and think it is great,” she said. “To make sure the chickens stay in the coop, to have it a certain distance away from property lines, as a way to keep neighbors happy, I really didn’t see any problems with it. I thought it was clear-cut and as far as you keep your area clean and basically abide by the rules, there’s no problem. To have the ability of one of the inspectors come and look at it could also be a deterrent [to pests] as well.”

Supervisor Keith Dash said that two members of the Agricultural Advisory Committee also spoke in favor of the proposed law, but added that he did receive a pair of written communications, from the town of Evans Planning Board and the Lake Erie Beach Neighborhood Revitalization Task Force, which raised a number of concerns.

“Task force members unanimously expressed their opposition to this proposed law, citing some of the following concerns: Odor, attraction of predatory or wild animals, neighbor conflicts, impact on property values, impact on use and enjoyment of property, enforcement concerns and negative impact on the town’s economic development goals [residential and commercial growth and tourism],” Lake Erie Beach Task Force chair Lori Szewczyk said, in a letter addressed to the board. “The task force ... believes that the Domestic Fowl Law is inconsistent with the recommendations and actions identified in the strategy, which was prepared with significant community input. We are asking that the town board consider the impact that this law would have on community revitalization efforts and quality of life.”

The planning board also raised a number of concerns, including “the proposed minimum lot size [500 square feet] is too small and should be increased and the board believes the minimum should be a half acre or more; chicken hens should be allowed on single-family properties only, to avoid potential conflicts, the keeping of chicken hens should be prohibited on environmentally sensitive properties, such as waterfront properties or properties within the floodplain or containing wetlands and the planning board is concerned that the 250-foot distance between proposed pens and neighboring residences may not be sufficient and encourage pens to be placed as far from neighboring houses as possible.”

“The planning board feels that additional consideration should be given to these concerns, before the town board makes a decision regarding this amendment,” Sandra Brant, director of planning, said in a letter to the board.

The proposed Domestic Fowl Law will be addressed at a future meeting of the Evans town board.


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