Naples, N.Y. – Increasing efforts to live green, sustainable lives have brought chickens from the barnyard into the backyards of suburban and urban homes.
In the past few years, the popularity of backyard chicken coops has increased along with the interest of eating local foods.
Naples resident Kate Appleby says she hopes she can have a chicken coop in her backyard soon.
“We want to pay less for our food,” she says. “We want to ensure it’s healthy and organic. This is one way to do it.”
However, the law is standing in Appleby’s way. According Naples mayor Brian Schenk, chickens are considered farm animals under the village code. Therefore, village residents are not allowed to own them--at least for now.
Mayor Schenk says a few residents have expressed interest in raising chickens, so the village board of trustees drafted an amendment to the current code that could allow hens in the village. The draft says residents would be allowed to own a maximum of six hens and they would have to be kept in a secure enclosure. No roosters would be allowed. The draft is still in the discussion stages.
On Wednesday evening, the village board held a special meeting to discuss the concerns over the proposed amendment.
Village resident and former village trustee Donna Scott is hoping the board does not pass the changes to the code. She doesn’t think a village is any place for chickens.
“If you start with chickens, there is really no way to stop the pigs, the cows,” says Scott. “Living in such proximity, many of the houses here share driveways and boundaries. I don’t think manure of any kind piling up next door is a good thing.”
Scott says she is also concerned about possible noise and odor, about how each hen enclosure or coop would be kept up to code and who would enforce the code.
Meanwhile, Appleby says hens do not cause much noise or odor. She believes concerns from those opposed to the amendments are unwarranted.
“There is very little dirt or smell. None of that is true.”
She believes that if hens are allowed in the city of Rochester, a village like Naples shouldn’t be a problem.
“You can have chickens in the middle of the city. We’re in Naples, in a rural area and we’re not allowed to have chickens. Think about that.”
Earlier this fall, the city of Geneva and village of Victor both voted to prohibit chickens in backyards. Throughout the United States, many municipalities are also having make decisions about backyard chickens.