EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

July 28, 2013

N.H. towns grapple with livestock issues

Towns reconsider neighborhood ordinances

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Kingston Selectman Peter Broderick said although livestock isn’t a problem in town, the board thought a tighter ordinance was needed.

Broderick has 17 hens, but said he gave up his one rooster because it was fond of crowing.

Horses can also present a nuisance to neighbors, especially if they often escape their pastures.

There are many horse owners in Kingston, Broderick said, but those he knows of have sufficient space to raise their animals.

Sandown Selectmen’s Chairman Thomas Tombarello, who owns two horses himself, said he knows of no livestock complaints in his rural town.

“We have not had any issues whatsoever,” he said.

Regulations enforced

But Londonderry has had issues with livestock and strictly enforced town regulations when necessary.

“We want to protect neighbors against noise and smell,” Planning Board vice chairman Mary Wing-Soares has said. “I think we have a standard in place and I don’t think we should compromise our standard.”

Earlier this year, Wiley Hill Road resident Jay Barrett was denied Zoning Board approval to keep a horse because he didn’t have enough property. Barrett had 1.6 acres, but needed 2 acres.

Two years ago, the Planning Board told Thornton Road resident Fritz Brown he couldn’t keep three chickens on his 1-acre property. Beacon Street resident Julio Otero-Rivera had more than 2 acres, but was ordered to get rid of his chickens, ducks, geese and other animals in 2011 because they were often running loose in the neighborhood.

While some towns are looking to tighten their livestock regulations, communities such as Windham are taking the opposite approach.

Community development director Laura Scott said the town loosened its requirements in 2011.

“We were seeing some people who wanted to have one or two chickens in the backyard but they had to have 2 acres to have chickens,” Scott said. “You don’t need 2 acres to raise two chickens.”

Voters approved an amended ordinance at Town Meeting that dropped the 2-acre requirement.

“ We want to support agricultural uses,” Scott said. “We haven’t had any problems since.”

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