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Backyard chickens proposal returns

May 29, 2014

WOONSOCKET – A little more than a year after the City Council overwhelmingly scratched the idea, the panel will take another crack at allowing residents to keep backyard chickens Monday.
The proposal, which is more restrictive than the one defeated by the council last April, is sponsored by three of the council’s seven members, which very likely means it’s already just one vote short of approval.
Councilman Daniel Gendron, who had voted against backyard chickens previously, said he hasn’t stopped hearing from the pro-chicken lobby since. So he helped assemble a group of officials to craft a balanced ordinance designed to satisfy the interests of would-be chicken-keepers and their neighbors. Freshmen Councilors Melissa Murray and Garrett Mancieri are also co-sponsors of the final product.
“I started it up because there was still pressure from people who want to keep backyard chickens,” said Gendron. “It’s never stopped.”
City Planner Jennifer Siciliano said she worked with City Solicitor Michael Marcello and members of the council to draft an ordinance modeled after that of
Providence – one of a growing number of cities and suburbs making room for chickens. In addition, Warwick, Newport, Johnston, Coventry – even swanky Barrington – allow residents to raise backyard chickens for their eggs.
What’s the difference between the latest proposal and last year’s?
Perhaps the most significant is that chickens would only be allowed in residential districts zoned for single- and two-family houses, according to Siciliano, the city planner.
Read the complete story in Friday's newspaper.

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