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Guilderland denies chicken request

Town Board could still revise code to allow backyard coops

Guilderland Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Thomas Remmert, center, on Wednesday, May 21, outlines proposed conditions for Dale Owen to keep chickens outside his home. The resolution failed.

Guilderland Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Thomas Remmert, center, on Wednesday, May 21, outlines proposed conditions for Dale Owen to keep chickens outside his home. The resolution failed. Photo by John Purcell.

— Neighbors won the battle in one man’s request to keep chickens, but the war of backyard pet politics is not yet over in the town.

The Guilderland Zoning Board of Appeals on Wednesday, May 21, denied Dale Owen’s request to keep chickens behind his family’s house on Mohawk Drive. Board members voted 2 (yes) to 1 (no) on the request for interpretation allowing Owen to keep laying hens. Since there were only three voting members, Owen needed unanimous support for approval.

Owen said he was “a little surprised” his request was denied. When asked, he admitted “a little part” of him wished he had just built the coop without going before the board. Although he said he would never consider taking that approach.

“I don’t think my neighbors are mad at me, but I think they would be in that case,” he said. “That never crossed my mind.”

Several neighbors had spoken out against the request, fearing negatives outcomes could result. Residents not in Owen’s neighbor had expressed support for his request and chickens being allowed in residential neighborhoods townwide.

Zoning Board Chairman Peter Barber previously recused himself from discussions and casting a vote on the application because he lives in Owen’s neighborhood. This left Owen needing three of the four remaining members to vote in favor.

Owen’s application had been scheduled for the May 21 meeting because the remaining board members said they would be able to attend, but one member, Sharon Cupoli, was absent on the day of the vote.

Spotlight News was not immediately able to find out why she wasn’t at the meeting. Board member Thomas Remmert, who acted as chairman for the application, said after the meeting he was not aware Cupoli would be absent. Barber, near the end of the meeting, indicated he also was surprised Cupoli was absent.

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