, Kingston, NH

February 14, 2013

Chickens not welcome?

Carriage Towne News

---- — 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.

If this article passes, it would prevent families from being more self sufficient by providing their own food or teaching their children about farming. I’m not saying residents should be able to run a commercial slaughterhouse in their backyards, and if someone was going to engage in a larger farming or commercial operation, there are already laws that would oversee them.

Kingston is a town that has a rich agricultural history, especially the poultry industry, at one time being the chicken capital United States sending and selling, millions of eggs and birds all over the country.

On some of the proposed zoning articles I think the public lends too much credit to the wording underneath the article that reads “recommended by the planning board”. Of course they endorse it; they drafted it and determined it’s final form. I encourage the public to make sure they read these articles fully even though some of them can be very lengthy and wordy.

We’ve already adopted an eight page town ordnance on what type of light bulbs we use. I feel this is an example of the planning board overstepping their boundaries and encroaching too much on individual rights of property owners and homeowners in the town of Kingston I believe this is an unnecessary article and I believe it does not help our benefit the town in anyway. I encourage everyone to make themselves aware and make your fellow neighbors aware of articles like this. Please vote them down during the election, the last thing we need is to continue to lose more of our property rights to unnecessary rules.

Chris Bashaw