Beacon Citizen Network (BCN): a place for neighbors to get the word out, be heard and stay informed in all matters concerning Beacon, NY.



Attention Beacon Chicken Owners: Watch out!


Just giving you a head's-up that the City Council is looking to significantly curtail the right to keep chickens in Beacon.  A draft bill includes the following:

-Limit of 5 chickens

-Permit required (don't know how much $$$ it will cost)

-Only houses zoned for single family can keep chickens

-No roosters

-No selling of eggs

-Run requires 8 foot fencing

-5 feet from property line

-No electricity in coop

-Other issues as well...

Best of all, the punishment is a fine or 15 DAYS JAIL!!  

I am attaching the ordinance. If you don't agree with this, contact your local ward council member, the two at-large members and the mayor.  And I have been told there will be a public hearing for this issue on October 21.



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Comment by Mark Roland on October 16, 2013 at 8:22pm

Roosters are not currently banned in Beacon. Neither are ducks, geese, or other fowl. They will all get the boot. Also, Common Ground Farm recently gave a workshop on caring for chickens.

There are apparently several situations in town in which people are not properly caring for their chickens. The city wants the ability to fine people, and to do that they need an ordinance with specifics.

I've spoken to someone affected by neglected birds on their property line, and it's not pleasant. I sympathize and I would be looking for the city to provide a solution, no doubt. I suspect this particular instancemay be partially attributed to differing cultural practices and expectations.

As I mentioned back on page one, my biggest objection is the language, making it sound like chickens carry plague. But keep in mind, this is a draft, and I spoke to several council members who expect that public input will temper the language--taken from Buffalo, NY, and Huntington, out on Long Island.

Meanwhile, another big outbreak of chicken-related salmonella, and the government is not doing much. Never mind third world--industrial CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) are bringing more disease than a neglected backyard coop ever will. Due to the use of prophylactic antibiotics for the "life" of the chickens, some strains of the salmonella bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics. That means, you get really sick, with permanent damage, and it can't be treated. Equally alarming, it's possible that some strains are now more resistant to heat.

Whether you get your chicken from your backyard or, especially, from a local supermarket, employ proper safety and cooking precautions.

Interesting fact: There are over 20 billion chickens, for 7 billion humans.

Comment by Anna West on October 16, 2013 at 6:35pm

Nicholas, please talk to my neighbor about playing basketball at 7AM or before 9AM. Or the other bad neighbor who had a creek running completely across my property for weeks. It would freeze and I and anyone walking by would slip and fall and it included my driveway.  The basketball guy told me he spent 10 years in prison and isn't afraid to do it again and the creek idiot told me he carries a gun.  That was their response.  I think it is a little naive to think talking to someone would clear up the problem.  Elaine, they are not talking about you.

Do you really think the council wants to spend weeks and weeks on chickens?

Comment by Ben Royce on October 16, 2013 at 6:02pm

Elaine: I don't think "one person" refers to you. I think the "one person" being talked about was one particular chicken coop owner as opposed to most chicken coop owners.

Comment by Elaine russo on October 16, 2013 at 4:42pm
Just because I am the only person who has posted on this page. About problems does not mean I am the only person having a problem! Do you really think the city would react for one person? I still fail to understand what is so draconian abut the suggested code. What exactly is it that is objectionable ?
If you feel the city has not done enough research maybe they should just ban chickens until they can complete a full study.
Comment by Ben Royce on October 16, 2013 at 4:09pm

See, this seems like an absurd situation to me.  The idea that the resolution of problems requires passing a law essentially specific to one person is pretty wild... isn't there a better way?

If I had any idea who any of these folks were, I would happily have a talk with them

Unfortunately, this approach assumes good faith on the part of all parties.

I agree these chicken coop ordinances are overkill. There's plenty of civil disagreements where the force of law is brought to bear unnecessarily. Where just a little friendly chat would have completely cleared up the problem. And you are right to try that approach first.

But some people have zero interest in cooperation. Only when they are compelled do they finally stop negatively impacting the well being of others. And the authorities cannot act to keep the peace until the law specifically empowers them to do so... which is a good thing.

At this point, where the ordinances are already drafted, instead of opposing them outright, I think chicken owners should work to modify them instead. Make sure they are not overreaching, and only come into play when someone is being really abusive to their neighbors. Delete some sections.

And here's an idea: maybe some good can still come out of this if the draft also establishes standards that prevent animal abuse. Annoying your neighbors and neglecting your animals probably overlaps.

Comment by Nicholas Dedring on October 16, 2013 at 3:17pm

See, this seems like an absurd situation to me.  The idea that the resolution of problems requires passing a law essentially specific to one person is pretty wild... isn't there a better way?

If I had any idea who any of these folks were, I would happily have a talk with them, but it's not like we're all part of a club with meetings.  I think I'm aware of one or two sets of people who have chickens in some form or another, though it came up sort of organically in the normal course of our acquaintance, so I wouldn't know how well I'm aware one way or another how many families there are in town who do this.

I find it difficult to believe that the city, unable to police its own rules regarding dogs, noise, chickens, dumpsters and all manner of other things, will manage to police a far more complicated set of rules, when it either lacks willingness or authority to police the simple rule it has now.  Finally, if someone thumbs their nose at the current requirements, do you honestly think that they will be inclined to be more cooperative in the future?

Comment by Anna West on October 16, 2013 at 1:06pm

But Nicholas,   The past couple years, I have watched a couple people suffer terribly because an "offender" parked all kinds of trucks, snow mobiles etc all over his front lawn. I saw people come to council meetings week after week for years, attempting to correct the situation so they could sell their house.  Laws had to be enacted because that offender didn't want to do anything to change.  It is the offenders fault, not the poor sufferers who should be commended for attempting to fix the situation for others.   The problem has been defined. Too many chickens, not cleaned, too close to someone's house.  Obviously many people have tried to talk the offender, but hey maybe some of the chicken people should try too?   

Comment by Nicholas Dedring on October 16, 2013 at 11:18am

To my knowledge, roosters are already not permitted, so I'm not sure why we're getting heated about that.  This feels, with all due respect, like we have a bare handful of offenders who are making a nuisance of themselves, and only one person below who is actually experiencing a clearly miserable set of circumstances.

Are we, then, creating legislation to deal with circumstances in a top down manner that actually relate to one person being a jerk, failing to clean up, leaving feed out without proper care, and leaving an eyesore directly against their neighbor's property line?

Maybe this is in fact a matter of ensuring that enforcement is improved, as a dog making noise in an unacceptable manner receives little to no enforcement, which is the same issue as with chickens.  If someone decided instead to keep a hundred parrots in their yard, they would be within their rights as they are pets, while someone according to the new rule couldn't keep six chickens?  Let's try and actually define the problem, instead of universalizing the behavior of one or two rotten apples, shall we?

Comment by Anna West on October 16, 2013 at 11:01am

Thanks Bubba, you said it so well.  I know all my neighbors, most really really well. A few, being totally inconsiderate, obviously need laws for everything. If a few people are being bothered by a situation--a situation that includes 24 hour noise, unsanitary conditions, rats etc--laws need to be written.   It would be great if you could just ask people to not play basketball at 7AM (oh that is my issue. hahahah) but unfortunately, that just means they start playing at 7:30 AM or 8AM. These type of issues need laws--because people do not change except if they will get in trouble. They will wave their "freedom" flag, not thinking they are intruding on your freedom to sleep in the morning. Or not smell chicken crap, or not have rats all over drawn by the unclean conditions.

I hope we can grow veggies on our front lawn, but agree we should not be selling said veggies to make a eggs....   If you want to make a profit like that--buy a farm or rent land outside of town.

I want to know how many have been to a council meeting before the upcoming one.  You could have also contacted your council person and help write the new law. 



Comment by Bubba's Hot Boiled Peanuts Inc. on October 16, 2013 at 12:33am

First and foremost, let's not turn on each other over this issue. Being civil to each other, especially when discussing a chicken sh!t issue like this, should be the normal...not an exception.

We all live in the CITY of Beacon. Not the TOWN, not the STATE...the CITY. And usually, from my experience anyway, CITIES do not normally allow animals that are considered to be AGRICULTURAL in nature. Period! Until this forum posted the news about the CHICKEN COUP COPS and all the rules pertaining to them, I didn't know I could own chickens in the city of Beacon! So thanks for the heads up anyway!

 So let's be happy that we even get the option to have 5 chickens on our property. That is more than enough to feel like you are raising your own food source, and more than adequate to teach children about nature and the responsibilities that come with raising a living creature. A few rules and regulations may not be for everyone initially, but in the quest to make everyone safe and somewhat happy, the city had to start somewhere. Laws and rules can be changed and nothing is terminal here.

Bickering between adults should not be the tone set for something that should be fun and brings happiness to our lives. Being a good neighbor, not only involves these chicken issues, but it also means stopping in on your elderly neighbors to see if they are safe and OK. Bringing someone chicken soup when they are sick (Sorry Chickens) or simply waving your hand in the air and saying good morning or hello when you see them outside. 

 How many of you even know your neighbors names? I bet there are a few on here who have no idea who lives next door to them and how they would feel about you owning chickens. Who knows, maybe they would like to HELP YOU with YOUR chickens. Maybe not, but wouldn't it be nice to interact with real people rather than typing to them over a "social media" outlet?

Now get out there you chicken loving Beaconites and get to know your neighbors! 

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