Revised Livestock Ordinance Set for Additional Review

The revised Livestock Ordinance for Derry was tweaked last week and will be tweaked again before being reviewed by the Planning Board once more and then opened to residents in a public hearing.
The ordinance, Article 20, was last reworked in 2009, according to Planning Board Vice-Chair John O’Connor, who ran the Dec. 4 meeting in the absence of Chairman David Granese. Animal Control Officer Marlene Bishop was present and spoke to the proposed changes.

Some of the changes proposed include permitting livestock only on lots of one or more acres; all structures to be located a minimum of 20 feet from the property line, unless the property is owned on both sides by the same resident; requiring fowl pens on lots of less than two acres to have wire mesh or poly mesh roofs; and roosters to be permitted only on lots containing more than three acres.
Board member Darrell Park said, “The problem I always have is that we’re trying to regulate this too specifically. There’s a certain number of owners who will be problems, no matter what. They just don’t care.”
They will care if there are “teeth” in the ordinance, Bishop and board members pointed out. With consequences, Bishop said, “We can tell them, ‘If you don’t comply, we can do this.’” She added that she runs into a lot of people who say, “There’s no law – I can do this.”
“I am playing Devil’s Advocate,” Park countered. “Anyone whose neighbors don’t want chickens at all will call you.”
Under the “nuisance” section of the ordinance, the proposed changes forbid roosters to crow between 8 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. On lots under five acres, roosters must also be confined to their coops until after 8 a.m. Park thought the 6 1/2 hours, plus the extra hours and a half in the coop, were “overly restrictive.”
“I don’t think we should restrict roosters, period,” O’Connor said. “But I agree that they should not be allowed to crow between certain hours.”
O’Connor wondered if the title of the ordinance should be changed to “Livestock and Fowl,” and if domestic animals should be included because the ordinance refers to dog kennels.
“Do you want dogs included?” member Randy Chase asked Bishop.
Bishop responded, “This isn’t about dogs, except for kennels near property lines.” She already follows the state statute regarding barking dogs, she said.
The rules for kennels should be in the other zoning along with the setbacks for sheds, Chase said, adding, “It is a building.”
O’Connor returned to the need for sharply defining what came under the ordinance. “If we don’t define this, it’ll be in court and we’re going to lose,” he said. “Chickens don’t fall under livestock.”
Chase suggested that the ordinance “stick to livestock and fowl, and leave dogs out of it.”
Chase also questioned the need to have the acreage restrictions for roosters if the town also has the confinement times. “A rooster could go to the property line and crow,” he said, “if you have 10 acres. If Marlene gets what she needs to enforce the nuisance part, we don’t need the land restriction.”
The proposed fine for violating any of the provisions of the ordinance is no more than $275, first offense; and an additional fine of not more than $275 per day for each day of violation after a Cease and Desist order or Notice of Violation has been issued.
For subsequent offenses, the owner will be subjected to a proposed fine of not more than $550 per day of continuing violation.
The revised ordinance expands on the section for “enclosures,” requiring that all areas, including dog kennels, be “maintained to prevent accumulation of mud and feces/manure.” It calls for owners to be held responsible for any damage resulting from their animals escaping their enclosures. It also tightens the rules for waste products, requiring that waste not be stored or stockpiled on properties of less than one acre, and not stockpiled “so as to create a nuisance” on less than two acres.
The draft ordinance also contains a section on “grandfathering,” or allowing people who had animals before the new rules to continue, with the provision that “once an animal is removed/deceased, it cannot be replaced.”
The revised ordinance will be reworked by Bishop and Mackey, and presented to the Board for a final review in January.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.