September 24, 2022

Chester Planning and Zoning to Consider Limits on Keeping Chickens


Meeting Postponed to Jan 10, 2013

CHESTER— The planning and zoning commission will hold a public hearing Thursday on a petition from a local lawyer to change zoning rules on the keeping of chickens, specifically roosters and capons. The public hearing begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Chester Meeting house on Liberty Street.

John and Bonnie Bennet, of 23 Story Hill Road, have petitioned for a change in the definitions section for poultry. John Bennet, who has an office in Essex, is the long-time town attorney for Chester and a frequent moderator at town meetings. Bonnie Bennet is a former Chester judge of probate.

The proposed change would define poultry as hens, and allow the continued keeping of hens on private residential property “in a manner which preserves the quality of life of the surrounding neighborhood.” The proposed new language would prohibit the keeping of roosters and capons, and any “fowl which crows, calls, screeches, squawks, or makes similar other sounds,” including “guinea fowl, peacocks or peahens, geese, parrots, macaws of similar calling species.”

An additional proposed regulation prohibits keeping “any animal, as a pet or otherwise, including fowl, which howls, barks, brays, bellows, calls, screeches or makes other sounds during the day or night at frequent and/or extended periods of time so as to be a nuisance to one or more persons occupying a house or houses in any immediate neighborhood thereby preventing such person or persons from the comfortable enjoyment of their homes.”

The proposed change appears to have generated opposition from some residents even before the public hearing. There are several small signs posted around town which highlight Thursday’s hearing, and call for “keeping Chester chicken friendly.”