A burgeoning movement to allow egg-laying chickens to be raised on suburban residential properties has come to roost in the Town of Tonawanda.
Jeff Byrnes, who lives on Avon Road in the town, presented a 10-point proposal Monday to town lawmakers during the public comment period of the Town Board’s meeting.
“This is loosely based off some of the other towns in the area that have allowed chickens,” Byrnes said.
Many of his points, including limiting the number of chickens to six and barring roosters, mirror a zoning ordinance amendment enacted in January by the Amherst Town Board.
Like Amherst’s legislation, the proposal submitted by Byrnes in the Town of Tonawanda would require compliance with sanitary, noise and property maintenance regulations. It also covers subjects including where and how the chickens should be housed, and addresses the storage of feed to discourage rodents.
Byrnes presented the Town Board with the names of 33 town residents who have signed supporting petitions as of Monday.
“We feel this is necessary for the sustainability of our community, green living, education, children’s activities and fresh local food supply,” one petition states, in part.
Brynes suggested that something could be approved for a trial period.
While lawmakers were non-committal Monday, Byrnes’ mother, Linda, was met with outright resistance when she broached the subject at a board meeting in January.
“I don’t see us changing the law ... that’s my personal opinion,” Councilman John A. Bargnesi Jr. said that night.
Both he and Town Supervisor Anthony F. Caruana voiced concerns about rodent problems.
But Linda Byrnes gave it another shot Monday night.
“You have to realize this is a phenomena that is happening throughout whole country,” she said.
Raising chickens is an area of interest to people in their 20s and 30s – a demographic that lawmakers should want to attract to the town, she continued.
And those who want to raise chickens tend to be well educated, she added.
“I think you should open it up and really consider it,” Linda Byrnes said.