Chicken Law Revised

Posted on 13 June 2012

According to the Sag Harbor Board of Trustees, resident Mare Dianora should be comfortable keeping all of her eggs in one basket and have faith that the Village of Sag Harbor will make it possible to hatch chickens on her Grand Street property.

A new “chicken law” was unveiled at the village board’s Tuesday night meeting meant to clarify a code that Dianora helped craft with trustees last year to legalize the keeping of chickens in Sag Harbor.

The move comes after an interpretation of that code by Sag Harbor Village Building Inspector Tim Platt. He ruled Dianora would need to go to the village zoning board of appeals (ZBA) because she did not have half an acre of property. Under Platt’s view, that is what is required at a minimum to have chickens in Sag Harbor under the new law.

The original law read that “the number of chickens and bantams shall not exceed six per 20,000 square-feet of lot area and in no event more than 18 on any parcel.”

While Platt has interpreted that section of the code to mean 20,000 square-feet, or a half acre, is necessary to keep chickens at all — a rarity in a village where most parcels are far smaller than that — Sag Harbor Village Board members said last month it was not their intention when they drafted the legislation.

To rectify the situation, on Tuesday night the village board introduced a new law changing the legislation to deem chickens legal, provided only “one per 3,500 square feet of lot area” is allowed on any parcel. This now paves the way for the three chickens Dianora hopes to keep on her 13,000 square-feet, Grand Street property.

Like the previous law, roosters will be expressly prohibited as will the sale of eggs or poultry produced on a residential site.

The new law will be up for public hearing at the board’s July 10 meeting at 6 p.m.

The revised “chicken law” was not the only new legislation introduced Tuesday night. Trustees have also proposed to change the language in the law governing the scope of the Sag Harbor Village Historic Preservation and Architectural Review Board (ARB).

While the board has often viewed applications outside of the village’s historic district, its code is proposed to be modified giving the ARB the right to impose the requirement of a certificate of appropriateness for all changes that occur within the historic district, but additionally any development that requires site plan review by the village planning board.

That proposal will also be up for public hearing on July 10.

Lastly, following a number of complaints in recent years, trustees will also hold a public hearing on a local law that prohibits residents from discharging water from a swimming pool into village streets and therefore into its drainage systems that lead to the bay.

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