SOUTH KINGSTOWN – The chickens can stay in the coup for now.
The Planning Board has recommended to the Town Council to consider whether to allow residents to keep domestic fowl on residential property during the board’s update to the town’s comprehensive community plan.
As the Planning Board finalizes the community plan, it will review the zoning ordinance to ensure the ordinance is compliant with the plan’s goals and policies. The Planning Board prefers that the issue of domestic fowl regulation be considered in the larger context of reviewing general agricultural uses in the community.
The issue of domestic fowl in the town arose after a Biscuit City Road resident, Gerralyn Perry found screeching chickens and crowing roosters were creating a ruckus in her neighborhood. At the June 21 town council meeting, Perry asked the town council to create an ordinance which would create regulations and limits for residents who wish to raise domestic fowl on their property for food for personal consumption. The town council forwarded the issue to the Planning Board to review.
In June, Perry stated that since the town is no longer solely a rural community, the town should accept its obligation to property owners to protect them from residents who acquire fowl without concern of the impact it would have on their neighbors.
“It is with regret I acknowledge that perhaps it is time to legislate common courtesy,” Perry said at the June meeting. “Roosters crow all day beginning very early in the morning. Chickens are noisy as well, they continuously screech, attract insects and vermin and they smell. For a period of time two adjacent households had coops, hens and several roosters each and the noise was incessant.”
Perry requested that the town ban roosters in residential areas altogether, noting that they are not essential to the egg laying process, are only necessary if someone wishes to have more fowl, and is a practice followed by many other communities.
The Planning Board noted that the town’s agricultural heritage has been supported in the zoning ordinance since its inception in the early 1950s.
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