Protect Micro-Farming in Niskayuna, NY

Town of Niskayuna

 

New Zoning Ordinance Proposed for Inclusion

 

R3 Residential District Micro-Farming

The Town of Niskayuna has a rich history of supporting residential agricultural activities, such as gardening and the care of food-producing animals, a practice also known as micro-farming. In keeping with the self-sustaining lifestyle traditions of the Town, the residents of Niskayuna propose additions and amendments to the Town Code which will allow the continued pursuit of these activities while providing appropriate guidelines to participating residents of the Town.

 The proposed Town Code updates will provide allowances for the keeping of specific types of fowl and poultry within R3 Residential District micro-farms of the Town of Niskayuna. The keeping of fowl and poultry will require the issuance of permits, and must comply with the guidelines established within the Town of Niskayuna's Town Codes. Town Code guidelines address the type of fowl and poultry allowed on residential district micro-farms, permit requirements and fees, acceptable uses of micro-farm products, allowed compensation for micro-farm products (sale, trade, et. al.), space requirements per animal, buffer space requirements, noise regulation compliance issues, animal feed storage best practices, and waste disposal laws. The Town Code revisions relevant to the subject of micro-farming supports the residential community heritage of the area, supports self-sustaining lifestyles, and contributes to the supply of fresh local food available within the community.

 Signatures of Niskayuna Town residents in support of these proposed Town Code updates are included at the end of the proposal document.

Author:            Brenda J Helm
1346 Hillside Ave
Niskayuna, NY 12309
(518) 280-1610
brendameltz@gmail.com

Town of Niskayuna

New Zoning Ordinance Proposed for Inclusion

R3 Residential District Micro-Farming

Proposed Town Code Update Summary

The Niskayuna Town Codes will be revised for the allowance of micro-farming activities within R3 Residential Districts. R3 Residential Districts are defined in Article IV: Use Regulations, Section 220-10, Sub-section D of the Niskayuna Town Code. The proposed Code updates relevant to micro-farming will affect several areas of the Niskayuna Town Code, including:

  • PART II, General Legislation

    • Chapter 81, Dogs and Other Animals
      • ADD %u2013 Article V, Fowl and Poultry Permit Fees

    • Chapter 142, Noise
      • AMEND %u2013 Section 3, Prohibited Noises
        • Add verbiage specifying roosters as prohibited

    • Chapter 220, Zoning
      • Article II, Definitions
        • Section 4
          • AMEND "Farm" to exclude poultry and fowl
          • ADD "Poultry and Fowl" definition
          • ADD "Micro-Farming" definition

      • Article V, Supplementary Regulations
        • Section 18, Accessory Structures
          • B. Accessory structures associated with single-family dwelling lots
            • ADD 4. Poultry and Fowl Coops, Hutches, Kennels, and Runs

Proposed Town Code Update Details

 All proposed revisions occur within PART II, General Legislation of the Town of Niskayuna Town Codes.

  • Chapter 81, Dogs and Other Animals
    • A new Article is to be created under this Chapter regarding permits and fees for allowed micro-farm animals in R3 Residential Districts
      • Article V, Fowl and Poultry Permit Fees
        • Fowl and Poultry for micro-farms must be registered with the City Clerk's office.
        • The permit application includes the owner's name and contact information, bird type, number of birds, and accessory structure details. A permit for the keeping of fowl and poultry must be renewed every five (5) years.
        • There will be a $50 permit application fee.
        • There will be a $5 registration fee per bird. The individual bird registration fee is a one-time issuance, valid for the life of the bird.
          • Bird registration information includes bird type, date of hatching, name (if available), and physical description (may be updated annually and include photo).
  • Chapter 142, Noise
    • Section 3, Prohibited Noises
      • This Section is to be amended to include roosters and other crowing poultry and fowl
        • Roosters and other crowing fowl and poultry are not permitted within R3 Residential Districts of the Town of Niskayuna.
  • Chapter 220, Zoning
    • Article II, Definitions
      • Section 4
        • Farm
          • Details included in this definition do not apply to R3 Residential District micro-farms.

 

  • Chapter 220, Zoning
    • Article II, Definitions
      • Section 4
        • Fowl and Poultry
          • Birds raised domestically for meat, eggs, and feathers, including chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, guinea fowl, and squab.
          • The "fowl and poultry" definition does not apply to exotic birds, such as parrots, cockatiels, parakeets, and other commonly kept exotic pet birds.
  • Chapter 220, Zoning
    • Article II, Definitions
      • Section 4
        • Micro-Farming
          • Micro-farms are smaller than traditional farms, and may be established on lots under 1 acre in size.
          • Only a micro-farm may be established within an R3 Residential District.
          • Micro-farms are solely for personal gardens and the keeping of allowed animals for the production of food for the use of the principal residents of a single-dwelling home.
          • Micro-farm components, such as animal enclosures and garden borders must be kept at a distance from neighbors so as to prevent the transmission of noxious odors and sounds.
          • Animal enclosures must conform to accessory structure guidelines [220-4 Accessory Structures]
          • Animal waste must be used as compost, fertilizer, or disposed of in an approved manner.
          • Animal waste is not permitted under any circumstances to be introduced into the public sewer system or local bodies of standing or running water.
          • The burning of animal waste, by-products, body parts, or corpses is forbidden.
  • Chapter 220, Zoning
    • Article V, Supplementary Regulations
      • Section 18, Accessory Structures
        • B. Accessory structures associated with single-family dwelling lots
          • 4. Poultry and Fowl Coops, Hutches, Kennels, and Runs
            • A minimum of four (4) square feet of coop space per bird must be available.
            • Each animal must have room to stretch fully.
            • Accessory structures for the care and keeping of micro-farm animals must not be positioned in front of the primary residence at any location on the property.
            • Coops, hutches, kennels, and runs for the care and keeping of micro-farm animals must not individually exceed ten (10) feet in height, width, length, or depth.
            • Animal enclosures and runs must be maintained in an eye-pleasing manner and not transmit noxious odors or sounds to adjoining properties.
            • Multiple housing components, such as a coop, hutch, and enclosed run, will be considered a single accessory structure.
            • Permanent electrical and plumbing connections and equipment require the appropriate permits from the Building Inspector.
            • Enclosures and compost piles must not be easily visible from, or transmit obvious noxious odors to, any Town of Niskayuna public park or outdoor public meeting area.
            • Coops, enclosures, runs, and open compost piles must not be located within twenty (20) feet of any groundwater source, creek, river, pond, lake, channel, or non-seasonal pool.

I affirm by my signature that I support revising the Niskayuna Town Codes to support micro-farming in R3 Residential Districts. The proposed revisions will permit, within guidelines, fruit and vegetable gardening and the keeping of fowl and poultry.

Please accept this petition as further support of the micro-farming Initiative for the R-3 districts of Niskayuna, NY. We respectfully request a meeting to discuss protecting our rights as they currently stand, and for rights to a healthy lifestyle as the Town continues to grow its industrial areas.
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