Women say Stonington could use a few more chickens

Stonington - Two local women are hoping to change the town's zoning regulations so homeowners on lots of 20,000 square feet and more can raise up to six chickens.

Currently, zoning regulations only permit chickens to be raised on lots of more than three acres and limits residents to just two fowl.

In her letter to the Board of Selectmen, Peg Moran, who is heading up the effort with Helen Jankoski, said "the town classifies chickens as grazing animals and places them in the same category as horses, cows, sheep and goats."

"If small flocks are legal in New Haven, Hamden ... and New York City ... why not Stonington!" she wrote.

Moran, who could not be reached for comment, said in her letter that in 2011 a small group of residents who want to change the ordinance formed a group called Chicken Lovers Urge Change (CLUC*K). Since then they have discussed the idea with friends and neighbors, collected 50 signatures of people who support the idea as well as $200 in donations at local farmers markets.

That is short of the $560 fee the town charges for zoning text applications. So CLUC*K has teamed with the nonprofit Eastern Connecticut Community Gardens which is requesting the fee waiver from the Board of Selectmen. That decision is pending.

Dave Fairman, the president of the gardens association, said in a letter to selectmen the money raised so far would instead be used to provide public education about raising hens and to purchase educational materials at the Stonington Free and Westerly libraries.

The two organizations say the change will help improve food security and nutrition in the region. For residents worried about sleep, no raising of roosters is proposed.

- Joe Wojtas


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