Chimney Hill chickens have flown the coop

Chimney Hill chickens have flown the coop

Town considers allowing them back

CUMBERLAND – Residents of the Chimney Hill Apartments had come to love their chickens, and want to see them returned, said Paul Cromwell, who lives and works at the apartment complex for elderly and disabled residents off Mendon Road.

No one ever had an issue with the chickens until one woman “who was apparently having a bad day” decided to complain and ask if there was paperwork from the town, Cromwell told the Town Council last Wednesday, Sept. 5.

Cromwell told council members he voluntarily got rid of the chickens, which had been kept in an enclosure alongside the housing facility, after town officials said they couldn’t legally provide a letter to the Cumberland Housing Authority stating the fowl could live there by ordinance.

“I didn’t know if I could get the letter from the town, (so) I figured I’d get rid of the chickens,” he said.

According to town zoning regulations, residents of single-family homes may keep up to five birds, as long as there are no roosters, but any property with more than one residential unit does not qualify under the provisions.

Cromwell said there are many elderly tenants who have asked for the chickens to be returned. Residents enjoyed visiting them with their children and grandchildren, he said, and the birds had a soothing presence on the premises.

“I didn’t know there was an ordinance,” he said.

The way the chicken pen is set up, “not too many people even know it even exists” so far off Mendon Road, said Cromwell. He said the enclosure is built well and was cleaned regularly when the birds were in it.

Town Council member Scott Schmitt said he would be open to amending the town’s ordinance to make an exception for Chimney Hill, particularly since no one would be bothered by these particular animals.

Town officials will review whether to revise the ordinance to make an exception for the one facility at 2065 Mendon Road.