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Albany considering allowing residents to raise hens

March 21, 2019 07:07 PM

ALBANY - The Albany Common Council is considering a proposal that would allow people to raise chickens within city limits. This is not the first time they've considered this.

The last time this came up was in 2011. The Common Council passed the resolution, but Mayor Jerry Jennings vetoed it due to enforcement concerns.

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Albany Common Councilman Tom Hoey said sustainability is the biggest reason his constituents want to be able to raise hens.

"Our landfill is almost full," Hoey said. "This allows you to feed the hens food scraps and it's turning food scraps into food."

Hoey said city residents are also concerned about the quality of their food.

"When you raise your own animals, you know, there's no hormones going into them, you know exactly what it's being fed and it kind of gives you a little bit of protection over your food and producing it," Hoey said.

Hoey said having hens in the city can also serve as an educational opportunity for kids or people who want to learn more about producing their own food.

Opponents are mostly concerned about noise and cleanliness.

If passed, Hoey said residents would need to have a code enforcement officer come and inspect the property before they are issued a permit for the hens.

Roosters would not be allowed and residents would not be allowed to slaughter their hens.

Residents would also need at least 800 square feet of space per hen. Plus, there are specifications about the coop and distance it must be from neighboring properties.

Public hearings will be held to discuss the resolution, but they have not been scheduled yet.

"We hope that if there are any problems that are brought up that we haven't already looked at and addressed that we will take care of it there in the committee," Hoey said.

Common Council Members Judy Doesschate and Owusu Anane are also sponsoring the resolution. They said they've heard from over a dozen people in support of this this measure so far.

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Emily Burkhard

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