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Couple wants Nisky to OK fowl play

Proposal would add 'micro-farming,' poultry permits to town code

One couple is hoping to persuade Niskayuna official to accept their proposed changes to the town code and allow chickens in areas zoned residential.

We went to court for the chickens, and they found the town code wasn't clear about it, said Brenda Helm. "I thought it was a good opportunity to make it clear and to make sure it is protected."

On Jan. 3 the Town Court ruled John Helm, Brenda's husband, to be in violation of sections 220-4 and 220-10D of the town code and ordered the Helms to remove their chickens from the property. The Helms are appealing the decision, and Brenda Helm, with the help of her attorney, Jennifer Storm, drafted changes to chapters 81, 142, and 220 of the town code that would allow poultry and fowl, along with micro-farming, within R3 Residential Districts.

The first step is establishing fowl and poultry permits, which is addressed in the draft's addition of Article V to chapter 81, which would require fowl and poultry for micro-farms to be registered. There would be a $50 permit application fee and a $5 registration fee per bird. The permit would need to be renewed every five years.

Brenda Helm said she is aware of the noise issues that come with keeping roosters and had previously removed a rooster from her property to the Quarter-Acre Rescue Ranch in Johnsonville, which is also where the chickens are now. To address the rooster issue, she added to the noise portion of the code, chapter 142, that roosters and other crowing birds and poultry are not allowed in R3 Residential Districts.

Recently Brenda Helm visited her chickens and rooster at the rescue and she said her rooster, Sid, was happy to have his "girls" back with him, though she isn't as happy about the setup.

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