Town hears request for hens

Slingerlands woman asks planning board to OK her chicken proposal

— For the second time in the past year, the Bethlehem Planning Board is hearing a proposal to keep chickens as pets.

Dana Scalere, of 12 North Helderberg Parkway in Slingerlands, went before the board on Tuesday, June 3. Town approval is needed because the property is zoned as a residential area.

The application proposes the purchase of six female chickens “to be used as family pets for sustainability, for insect control and for the use of eggs for personal consumption.” The coop would be located near the rear of the property and an average of 30 feet or greater from neighboring properties.

Neighbors to the west and south of Scalere wrote letters of support for the chickens.

Senior Planner Kenneth Kovalchik said the main issue to be discussed was that Scalere was applying to keep six chickens. The Best Management Practice the town uses to consult on the matter calls for keeping no more than four chickens. However, farm market law suggests baby chicks be purchased six at a time if they are under two months.

“I asked for six because of the law, but also because more chickens keep each other warm in the winters, and I don’t want to have to run any sort of electricity or heat to the coop,” said Scalere. “It’s not going to be a building, just a coop.”

Scalere said the lot is large and can accommodate six chickens. She said if she wants to buy the chickens from a local store, she needs to buy six or she’ll have to find them off Craigslist.

The plans call for the enclosed run to have a pitched roof, with the highest point being 8 feet. The coop will be about 4 feet and enclosed by 10 square feet of fence, at 5 feet tall.

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