Windsor considers chickens

Published 10:26 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The town of Windsor, like the city of Suffolk, is considering what to do about chickens.

The town’s planning commission last week considered two different amendments to Windsor’s zoning ordinance that would allow people to raise chickens.

An amendment to allow citizens to raise poultry in the parts of the town zoned as A-1 agricultural areas found little opposition and was passed along to Town Council with a recommendation that it be adopted.

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But a change in the zoning laws that would allow chickens and pot-bellied pigs will have face a more complicated path to potential adoption.

Resident Walter Bernacki of Johnson Avenue was the only speaker during a public hearing on the agricultural zoning, and he recommended that the panel approve the amendment.

Though he doesn’t have farmland himself, Bernacki said he believes it would give farmers another way to make money in years when crops aren’t doing so well.

The amendment would allow chickens to be raised on A-1-zoned land that’s at least five acres in acea and with pens that are a minimum of 50 feet from the nearest property line.

A discussion a proposed amendment that would allow chickens and pot-bellied pigs in residential districts was somewhat more complicated.

The proposed ordinance would allow no more than 10 chickens — but no roosters — at any one time, and they would have to be kept in pens, which would be required to be kept clean.

Bernacki acknowledged having a few chickens on his property, and after an anonymous complaint, he was found to be in violation of existing town code.

Edwards asked how cleanliness could be enforced and how it would be measured.

“If you go in one area, then someone’s going to come along and ask for rabbits,” George Stubbs said. “You can continue, etc. This has been round and round several times. Goats, rabbits, ferrets. We’re opening a door here that could go a long way to what someone consider a pet.”

Brown suggested Bernacki speak to council, which could then direct planning.

Ultimately, the Planning Commission recommended that matter be sent to Town Council for discussion next month.