Windsor council discusses poultry issues

Published 8:09 am Saturday, August 13, 2016

Windsor Town Council reviewed the Planning Commission’s recommendation to permit poultry to be raised in the A-1 District.

Dennis Carney, the Town’s director of Planning and Zoning, explained that the proposal would allow chickens to be raised in agriculture land that’s at least five acres large with pens at a minimum of 50 feet from the nearest property line to a lot or tract.

Councilman N. Macon Edwards III said he got a call from a resident concerned about that distance and suggested a wider one.

“If you think about it, 50 feet isn’t that long,” said Edwards; 100 feet was suggested.

More specifically, if you want to raise chickens in the agriculture zone and it’s next to another ag district, the pen need be only 50 feet distance from the property line. But if there’s any other kind of district — such as residential or commercial — then there must be 100 feet distance from the border.

All of council agreed to this and a public hearing will be set next month.

Speaking of chickens, the commission last month asked for guidance on the subject of residents being allowed to cultivate poultry, and even pot-bellied pigs within R-1 Residential, High-Density Residential and Low-Density Residential districts.

The subject was then raised by Walter Bernacki of Johnson Avenue, who had apparently been raising chickens for several years before an anonymous complaint revealed that he was in violation of town code.

One suggestion to the proposal would be to allow a only 10 hens and no roosters.

“Do you want Planning to move forward and what guidance,” said Stallings.

Mayor Carita Richardson agreed that comments from Council could help the commissioners.

“I think that will help guide them as they go through it,” she said.

Councilman Greg Willis said he has a “number of reservations.

“If we open doors to chickens and pot-bellied pigs, what’s to stop people asking for miniature horses, alpacas, peacocks, guineas, etc.”

Vice Mayor Clint Bryant added only that he sided with Willis.

Councilman Durwood Scott asked if the Town has the staff to police the regulation in any way. He said he understands Bernacki’s interest, “but in the long run is it in the best interest of the town?”

Edwards would make no comment on the matter.

Councilman Ambrose said he has a lot of experience with the practice of residents raising chickens when he lived elsewhere in North Carolina.

“I feel that we are a rural community and that if someone could maintain them, there’s something kind of special about that — getting your own eggs,” he said.

The comments of the Council were recorded and will be sent to Planning for consideration.


In other business, all but Edwards approved the purchase of a new utility cart to be used by the Public Works Department. An available Polaris M1400 would enable the staff to carry around more materials and tow up to 1,500 pounds. Reducing wear and tear on other vehicles and fuel costs are other benefits.

Edwards said he’s concerned for the safety of the employees that would use the cart, which when having to cross a road in town would be slow-moving compared to other vehicles that zip by them.

“I’d rather have a pick-up truck,” he said, acknowledging that the cost would be double.

Stallings said he understood the councilman’s concern, and replied, “The cart allows us to go more places you can’t take a pick-up truck; the cart would be easier to maneuver and do more things in smaller places.”

Asked by Scott if there’s money in the budget this year to replace the existing pick-up truck, the manager said yes. He added that driver’s education classes would be required for those employees who need to use the cart.

• The mayor agreed to serve for one year on the Joint Water Taskforce. She, along with a representative from Smithfield and another from Isle of Wight County would examine what’s the best use of water in the entire county.

• Discussion of placing a water fountain at Centennial Park, which is behind Town Hall, led to the agreement that it could be put next to the gazebo, which has been renamed for former longtime councilman Wesley Garris.