Livestock in City Limits

Monica Dore, News Editor

Something is upsetting the City of Oneonta residents, and this time it has nothing to do with SUNY and Hartwick students.

A meeting on October 7 with newly-hired City Manager Martin D. Murphy and the Oneonta Common Council was held to determine whether or not chickens have a place in Oneonta. Currently, under provision 68-1, poultry and other fowl are prohibited from city limits “unless otherwise permitted.”

A recent ordinance proposed by the Community Improvement Committee would allow for up to 10 hens per tax parcel, regardless of how many families live on the property. Under the ordinance, no roosters would be permitted.

Besides chickens and fowl, Oneonta currently does not allow pigs, horses, cows, mules or goats, and the recent ordinance is not attempting to change that.

Some fear chickens will decrease the quality of life for residents, as chickens generally bring some kind of noise and smell wherever they live. In an effort to limit the disturbances these animals might create, the ordinance would require chicken coups to be at least 25 feet from the door or window of homes not belonging to the owners. Hens would also be fenced in to prevent them from leaving the property and to protect them from predators. Opposition voiced concerns that the proposed ordinance would likely be difficult to enforce, since what happens in private backyards can be difficult to monitor.

The outcome of this debate will likely have no effect on the student population in Oneonta. However, if the ordinance is approved, all city residents will soon be able to house chickens. Even, with the permission of a landlord, any SUNY student living off-campus.

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