Many regulations linked to proposed backyard chicken plan

Many regulations linked to proposed backyard chicken plan

NORTH PROVIDENCE - Resident Tim Thorp and his supporters have submitted their final proposal to allow chickens in local backyards.

The proposed amendment to chapter four of the town's code of ordinances plucks "chicken hens" from a list of all other farm animals prohibited in town. If the measure is approved by the Town Council, chickens would be allowed to be raised here, as long as they're in coops.

Thorp's proposed amendment "appears to fit neatly into our zoning ordinance," said Town Planner David Westcott. Residents submitted their proposal on Jan. 6, said Westcott. The Town Council will have 65 days from that date to hold a hearing on the proposal, and then its members will make a decision.

Thorp relied on similar ordinances from nearby communities like neighboring Providence and Johnston to come up with the final proposal for North Providence.

Westcott said that the Planning Board will serve in an advisory capacity to the council on whether Thorp's amendments are consistent with the town's comprehensive plan and the objectives of the zoning code. The Planning Board has 45 days from Jan. 6 to advise the council on whether the plan is consistent.

Town Council President Dino Autiello said he is not opposed to the idea of backyard chickens, but will wait to make a decision.

"I think it is a novel concept for a populous town like North Providence, therefore I will base my decision off the recommendation of the Planning Board," he said.

Thorp, whose stated first motivation for reversing the town's ban is his family's plan to raise their own chickens, says his push is about more than that. This is about residents having a sustainable and healthy source of food. A lot of thoughtful consideration has gone into changing the rules, said the Central Avenue resident.

The proposal from Thorp has drawn strong opinions from both supporters and critics of the idea since the Brown University employee first suggested it last spring. Through his website, www.farmnorthprovidence.org , Thorp attempts to put to rest any concerns about the idea of raising fowl.

According to Thorp's proposed amendment, homeowners would be allowed to keep one hen per 800 square feet of total lot area on the property where they live, with a maximum of six hens per lot. No roosters would be allowed.

All hens would be kept and fed in a hen house, or coop, and need to have access to an outdoor enclosure, or run. The coop would be covered, resistant to predators, and ventilated. Each hen must have at least two square feet of space in the house.

No slaughter of chickens would be permitted in North Providence and any "chickens and their eggs would be for private consumption only."

Coops and runs would have to be kept clean, dry, and sanitary, with manure composted in enclosed bins. Coops would need to be located 10 feet from rear or side property lines and 25 feet from a neighboring home. No coop could be built onto a shared fence.

A coop would need to provide adequate protection against bad weather "and provide for the chicken hens' good health and prevent any unnecessary or unjustified suffering."

Chicken feed would have to be stored inside or in sealed, animal-proof containers. Feeding stations could be at ground level.

All chickens would be subject to nuisance provisions in the town code.

Curfew for chickens would be 9 p.m., and they would have to remain confined in their coops until 8 a.m.

Comments

Sounds like a well thought out plan! We need to preserve our civil rights to grow our own food.

I personally would love to have my own fresh eggs that have not been chemically washed eggs from chickens grown for profit. Although eggs from Stamp or Bafonis farm are a step above supermarket eggs. They are just not the same as the eggs we get from our backyard chicken keeping friends in neighboring communities in Providence and Barrington!

I am very pleased that North Providence may be able to have backyard chickens soon, and that such good regulation has been written to protect both the chickens and the neighbors!

Methinks that common sense has flown the coop! You want to raise chickens in a suburban area, with a plethora of regulations?? Try this, its called a farm, in the country..