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New Castle Mulls Relaxing Limits On Keeping Chickens

Chickens, pictured at Putnam Valley Grange. The New Castle Town Board is considering whether to relax limits of homeowners keeping chickens on their properties.
Chickens, pictured at Putnam Valley Grange. The New Castle Town Board is considering whether to relax limits of homeowners keeping chickens on their properties. Photo Credit: Contributed

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- New Castle officials are exploring whether to legalize the number of residential properties that can host chickens.

The town's current zoning law limits keeping chickens to parcels of 10 acres or greater; in effect, the restriction bars most households, as few residents have large lots.

New Castle Town Board members, who discussed the possibility at a recent work session, opted to continue exploring a change. Board members have yet to agree to what the new acreage limit would be, if any, and whether to have a threshold that would link the number of lawful chicken to land size.

Supervisor Rob Greenstein noted that thresholds and other towns' codes would be explored.

Councilman Jeremy Saland, seeking to anticipate scenarios, noted that some people have expressed concerns about wildlife coming too close to homes with chickens. The possibility of chickens attracting coyotes, already a cause of concern in town, was briefly mentioned.

Councilwoman Hala Makowska, who had been looking a law change prior to the full board's meeting, noted that chickens are attracted to where food is.

“They're definitely creatures of habit," she said.

In addition to coyotes, Makowska noted that hawks and fishers are examples of wildlife that may be attracted to the chickens.

At the meeting, officials agreed that advice would be sought from Stephen Coleman, the town's environmental coordinator, and that other municipalities' zoning codes would be checked.

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