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WHEATFIELD – A recent incident on Shawnee Road has led the town to draw up a proposed law to limit the number of chickens that can be kept in residential areas.

The Town Board will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. June 2 on the ordinance, which would put a limit of six on the number of chickens or other fowl that can be kept on a residential property.

Supervisor Robert B. Cliffe said at this week’s Town Board meeting that the complaint that moved the idea forward was an incident where neighbors of a Shawnee Road home complained about a large number of chickens there.

Cliffe said about 65 “specialty chickens were being raised and slaughtered right on the premises in the backyard.”

The town has no limit on fowl at the present time, Town Attorney Robert J. O’Toole said. The new law says it would apply to “chickens, chicks, ducks, turkeys, roosters, pheasants, etc.”

Cliffe said the six-bird limit isn’t set in stone. “That’s one of the reasons for holding the public hearing, (to determine) if it’s not the right number,” he said.

The proposed law would require the birds to be kept in a cage or coop, allowing at least two square feet per bird, and the enclosures must be located at least 30 feet away from any neighbor’s structure. The birds also must be given access to a fenced-in outdoor area. The total area of the coops or cages is limited to 32 square feet, and there are requirements for proper disposal of manure and keeping rodents out of bird feed.

The sale of eggs or meat from fowl would be barred in residential areas, as is outdoor slaughtering, commercial breeding and fertilizer production.

The ownership of roosters in a residential zone would be banned, unless a resident is granted a rooster variance.

In other matters, the board voted to apply for a state Department of Transportation grant for additional funding for phase two of the River Road trail. Cliffe said the town already has more than $1.1 million in grants in hand for the bicycle trail through the town connecting the cities of Niagara Falls and North Tonawanda.

The town committed to build the trail as part of the agreement that set up the Niagara River Greenway. Cliffe said phase two hasn’t been designed yet.

Design work on phase one, from the Falls city line to Williams Road, began last year.

Also last week, the board voted 4-1 to pay Wendel, the town’s engineering firm, up to $3,900 to survey the drainage creek from Rose Court to Niagara Falls Boulevard.

Cliffe was the sole opponent. He explained that town Highway Superintendent Arthur F. Kroening “says it will drain, it just needs to be cleaned. I’d rather spend the money cleaning it.”

email: tprohaska@buffnews,com