Commission looking at regulations for poultry, honeybees

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By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer

NAUGATUCK — The Zoning Commission is revising the regulations for backyard poultry and developing new guidelines for keeping honeybees.

“Backyard poultry” includes chickens, ducks, turkeys and rabbits, but not guinea hens, capons or roosters. Current regulations essentially allow backyard poultry on land that is at least 3 acres.

The proposed revisions before the commission break down the number of backyard poultry allowed on residential properties by lot size, and provides more rules on how structures for the animals are to be kept.

Under the proposed language, four backyard poultry would be allowed on properties less than 25,000 square feet, eight on properties between 25,000 and 39,999 square feet, 12 on properties between 40,000 and 79,999 square feet, and 16 on lots 80,000 to 125,000 square feet.

The revisions would require that the animals are kept in a fenced enclosure no more than 200 square feet. The enclosure has to be in the back or side yards of a home, and at least 25 feet from any street line, 15 feet from a home and 5 feet from any property lines. Structures closer than 10 feet to a property line or visible from the street would need to be screened by a fence or landscaping buffer.

As for honeybees, the proposed regulations would allow people to keep bees on any residential property at least 12,000 square feet. The proposal states people can keep up to two colonies on a lot that is a quarter-acre or less, and up to six colonies on an acre lot. There is no limit for lots larger than 1 acre.

The hives should be in a quiet part of the yard, where there is no human or pet traffic, the proposal states.

Neither backyard poultry nor honeybees can be kept in a mixed-use zone.

The commission Sept. 15 opened a hearing on the proposals.

Burgess Rocky Vitale said he asked for the commission to review revisions for keeping poultry after residents asked him to bring the idea forward.

Town Planner Lori Rotella said the guidelines for honeybees came about because many other towns have it in their zoning regulations.

Zoning Enforcement Officer Ed Carter said there is a lot of interest in local honey as a way to treat allergies.

“People specifically want to buy honey that is local,” Carter said.

Residents won’t need a zoning permit to keep poultry or bees, but would have to submit a statement certifying that are in compliance with the regulations.

Carter said this will give officials the chance to talk to people about the regulations before they moved ahead.

The proposals are working documents and are subject to further revisions. The commission continued the hearing to Oct. 20 at 6:10 p.m.