Windsor chickens get no love from Planning

Published 12:06 pm Friday, August 26, 2016

Any chickens in the residential areas of Windsor have been given their marching orders.

On Wednesday evening, the town’s Planning Commission unanimously “declined to take any action to permit the raising of chickens in residential districts.” That’s according to Dennis Carney, the Planning and Zoning administrator for Windsor.

He added as an aside that the decision came five years to the date when the Planning Commission then also passed on any amendments to allow backyard poultry.

The matter has been with the current board since July when town resident Walter Bernacki of Johnson Street confirmed having a few chickens on his property. Through an anonymous complaint, he was found to be in violation of existing town code. So Bernacki brought his request in hopes of amending the rules to allow chickens and even pot-bellied pigs in the R-1, HDR and LDR residential districts.

Considerable discussion followed. Commissioner George Stubbs said, “If you go in one area, then someone’s going to come along and ask for rabbits. You can continue, etc. This has been round and round several times. Goats, rabbits, ferrets. We’re opening a door here that could go a long way to what someone consider a pet.”

Planning felt the need for council’s counsel before proceeding further. Councilman Greg Willis later echoed Stubb’s view: “If we open doors to chickens and pot-bellied pigs, what’s to stop people asking for miniature horses, alpacas, peacocks, guineas, etc.” Willis added, though, that he doesn’t have an issue with chickens in low-density residential districts if there’s enough acreage to support them.

In contrast, councilman Tony Ambrose seemed to favor the idea: “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.

Council did not tell Planning what to do, but instead passed along those comments and others to advise.

In the meantime, Bernacki had requested the commissioners to not even review the matter of pot-bellied pigs. He had learned that anyone with such critters lived in the county, not the town.

Bernacki was reportedly out of Windsor the other evening, and could not be reached for comment.

He and anyone else with chickens in their yards will have about a month to take the poultry out of residential districts.

“Normally, we give 30 days,” Carney said. “We work with people, especially if there are extenuating circumstances.”

The administrator said a blog will be set up eventually on the town’s webpage ( to inform the public of what the chicken policy is for the town.

In other Planning business:

• As part of the ongoing Olde Town Windsor project, residents are urged to attend to the next commissioners’ meeting, which is on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m.

Specifically, Carney said they’re inviting people from Griffin, Bank and Maple streets as well as B Avenue to give input of “what they would like their neighborhood to become.”

For any questions on this, contact him at 242-4288.