, Kingston, NH

Letters to the Editor

February 14, 2013

Chickens not welcome?

I’m writing in response to Warrant Article #5 as proposed by the town of Kingston planning board. This article seeks to add a definition of livestock to the zoning ordinances and implement some extensive restrictions on the ability of citizens to own horses, cows, goats, sheep, pigs, poultry, and similar animals.

First of all, I am surprised to see this identical article on the ballot for a second year in a row proposed by the planning board. Unlike a petitioned article that citizens wish to have addressed again, this was forwarded by the planning board to the voters last year and the voters said “No”. I have some serious concerns that if the planning board doesn’t get what it wants, then it’s going to continue pushing through articles until it we experience voter fatigue and people just give in because they’re tired of seeing it on the ballot.

Like most voters, my spouse and I both work full-time and have little time to get involved in weekly or monthly town meetings. We have responsibilities to our three children, work and our home. I wish I had time to battle articles like this in the early stages but the deliberative session is usually the fist time I hear about these things.

Under the proposed article, anyone who lives in a single-family residential district such as myself, would not be allowed to have any type of livestock under the definition including chickens. So, if I wanted to raise a couple of chickens with my three children, I would not be allowed to do so even though I have 1.99 acres of land.

If I lived in any of the other zoning districts, I would still need at least two acres to own any number of these animals and, I would have to go through a painstaking approval process of submitting plans and assessments, then seeing if I’m allowed to own a couple chickens. I find this very concerning, especially in time of a down economy where families are searching for self sustainability.

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