Canton says no to chickens, yes to vegetable farms

The Canton Town Council Monday night scrapped a proposal to allow people to raise chickens in residential zones.

Photo: Courtesy of Sugarbush Farms.

Photo: Courtesy of Sugarbush Farms.

According to the Watertown Daily Times, several residents spoke against the law as written, because it would have required a minimum of 3 acres.  Board members decided the proposal needed to be revised, which means the process will start over again.  The issue will be handed back to the town Planning Board, which already spent months debating it.

The Watertown Times reports that in a separate vote, the board said yes to community-supported agriculture projects in residential zones.  Applicants will need a special permit, at least 3 acres, off-street parking, and can only sell produce grown on-site.

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  1. Keeping some chickens may have important health and safety benefit. With the explosion of cases of Lyme disease chickens may become our last line of defense against ticks.

  2. I guess the Canton Council is chicken when it comes to chicken but should be afraid of winning the rotten tomato award.

  3. Problem would be solved if the Town Councilors changed the wording from chickens to roosters. Hens don't need 3 acres. At 4AM, if you've got a rooster, it doesn't matter how big your spread.

  4. I don't spend a lot of free time perusing laws of New York State, but the town board meeting discussion jogged my memory regarding the sale of agricultural products.
    Here is an excerpt from NYS Town Law, Licensing and Regulating occupations:
    § 136. Licensing and regulating occupations. The town board may
    provide by ordinance for the licensing and otherwise regulating of:
    1. Auctioneers, employment agencies, collateral loan brokers, junk
    dealers and dealers in second hand articles; the running of public
    carriages, …… etc., etc., hawking and peddling,
    except the peddling of meats, fish, fruit and farm produce by farmers
    and persons who produce such commodities.

    The way I read this, a farmer is entitled to sell his/her agricultural products anywhere they wish, unregulated by the town.
    If that is so, then the town is wading into waters that are not constitutional in New York.
    Any lawyers out there who would like to comment?

  5. The town of Potsdam has followed in the steps of the Village of Potsdam. A couple of years ago, we had a similar discussion here. The proposal was turned down, and though I very much wanted chickens, it was be best outcome…for the time being. Potsdam's proposal was drafted by some folks on the planning board who wanted to make the whole thing so onerous that no one in their right mind would want to do it. The rules and regulations, permits and inspections, annual fees and permission slips from the neighbor were more than ridiculous, and went on for pages and pages. More paperwork than that required to buy a gun. More paperwork than that required to build a house. More paperwork than anyone would want to do…ever. Time is on our side though, and these old farts will die off and make way for the future. New York is burdened at every turn with needless regulation, and the taxpayers are tired of funding it.