TownUnderground - Londonderry, NH

Londonderry Town Offices & Committees => Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) => : GDouglas May 27, 2011, 12:37:04 PM

: LT - Chickens on an Acre: Local Resident Debates Next Step
: GDouglas May 27, 2011, 12:37:04 PM
From the Londonderry Times

Chickens on an Acre: Local Resident Debates Next Step
Chris Ceasar
Londonderry Times

One resident said he isn't the kind of guy to walk away from a challenge, but, after failing to convince the planning board to allow chickens on properties of only an acre - as opposed to the current two-acre limit - he said he's not sure how to proceed.

Initially, Fritz Brown thought he might apply for a variance from the zoning board, but, in that instance, others in the community would be denied what he and others describe as the myriad health benefits of homegrown eggs.

Brown also struggles with Celiac disease - an intestinal disorder that requires a gluten-free, nutrient-rich diet that the eggs could provide.

"They just tasted so different and so good," he said last month.

"Sometimes you have to accept defeat graciously and move on," he said during a phone interview last week. "Then, on the other hand, I'm still getting bombarded with emails saying, 'you can't give up, it's not in your character to give up like that.'

"I don't want a variance - that gives me the right to have chickens and no one else," he continued. "I was doing it more for the community, and I wanted that ordinance changed."

The ordinance was passed by Town Meeting, after a citizen's petition was brought forth because someone in town had created a disturbance with farm animals on a smaller lot.

Board members were uncomfortable with the idea of turning over an ordinance that was the result of a popular vote based on the request of one person, and ultimately voted 7-3 not to amend the law.

But a number of local towns allow the keeping of chickens on smaller lots, including Auburn, Chester, Derry, Litchfield and Hudson.

Even Manchester allows the practice on lots at least an acre in size, after some residents petitioned for the change last year.

Brown said he may try to collect the 25 signatures he needs to bring the issue before the Town Council, though he said he was advised by town planner Tim Thompson that the council would likely send the issue back to the Planning Board.

He expressed hope that a citizen's petition may outweigh the concerns of some members of the board that they would be overturning the will of the people expressed in a Town Meeting vote.

He added that he has received many expressions of support from those willing to sign a petition at the email address he started for the potential campaign:

"I don't know whether I want to be the rabble rouser," he admitted, but encouraged interested residents to contact him nevertheless.

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