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Dueling Chicken Articles Top Chelmsford Warrant

February 3, 2019

CHELMSFORD -- Fewer or more restrictions on chickens?

That’s the question that will be answered at Monday’s Special Town Meeting.

Two opposing articles that will either make it easier or more difficult for residents to keep chickens and other small animals top the warrant for the meeting, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Senior Center.

The first article, put forward by the Planning Board, seeks to remove chickens, game birds, rabbits and other small animals from a town zoning bylaw requiring properties to have 40,000 square feet to keep them. It came about as a means to remove jurisdictional conflicts between zoning enforcement and the Board of Health, which oversees animal regulations and permits.

The second article, submitted by citizen petitioner Robert Myers, also removes small animals from the 40,000 square feet requirement, but places additional restrictions on how and where they are kept on residential properties.

Among Myers’ proposed changes:

n Up to six smaller animals weighing less than 25 pounds at maturity are allowed but the animals, their wastes and the structures housing them must have setbacks of at least 75 feet from all property lot lines and at least 150 feet from bodies of water.

n No roosters allowed unless the parcel is defined as a farm under law.

n Housing structures such as coops and runs may not be situated in front or side yards.

Also on the warrant are articles seeking funding for the collective bargaining agreement with the town’s police sergeants’ union and an access and utility easement on a small piece of town-owned land for a proposed subdivision that would extend Tobin Avenue in North Chelmsford.

Follow Alana Melanson at facebook.com/alana.lowellsun or on Twitter @alanamelanson.

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